Fantasia 2023: Aporia

Directed by: Jared Moshe
Distributed by: Well Go USA

Written by Taylor Baker


Writer-director Jared Moshe’s film titled after a logical impasse or contradiction “Aporia,” centers on a time travel device that kills. After Sophie’s husband Mal is killed by a drunk driver, Jabir (Payman Maadi) a family friend shows Sophie (Judy Greer) a device that he and Mal (Edi Gathegi) created in the spare bedroom of his home. A seeming junk heap that when programmed correctly can use a special particle to end the life of anyone they know the precise location of within the past eight years.

Greer’s Sophie excitedly takes on the moral quandary of killing her husband’s killer using the machine after she hits the enter key on the keyboard the machine emits a puff of smoke, and just like that, her husband’s killer is killed. But there are more consequences than just her husband returning to life as any certified “Butterfly Effect” fan will tell you. Those who are aware of carrying out the kill, have the original memory, but those who don’t–don’t, in this case everyone besides our main characters have no idea. This adds family complications when Sophie can’t remember her last few months with their daughter Riley. The film quickly devolves into a which problem shouldn’t we solve by killing someone flick. What should be a sticky moral situation hits with deadened impact and distant emotionality. In few “Butterfly Effect” adjacent movies have the consequences and actions of the time travel choices felt less engaging than they do here.

“Aporia” despite its lofty goals of philosophical and moral conundrum, plays out rather straightforwardly neither engrossing the viewer in its stakes substantively nor entertaining in its presentation of them. Likewise, the performances though adequate never rise beyond that, their performers do not disappear into their roles, their lot, and the narrative they find themselves in feels alternatingly forced and convenient. There are small moments where Moshe’s direction speaks to a more contemplative conversational film about us as beings and our memory, but they are minuscule and evaporate quickly. “Aporia” is unnotable, it has little to say, and less to do. Its characters are unremarkable as are its consequences, which is a real pity for what is quite a nifty premise.

“Aporia” Trailer

“Aporia” was screened as part of the 2023 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival.

You can follow more of Taylor’s thoughts on film on LetterboxdTwitter, and Rotten Tomatoes.

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