Alternate reality, Elin Synnøve Braathen, Harald Evjan Furuholmen, Hugo Herrman, Jarand Breian Herdal, Jens Peder Hertzberg, Microchips, Norway, Police, Review, Sci-fi, Special effects, Student project
D: Jarand Breian Herdal / 70m
Cast: Harald Evjan Furuholmen, Hugo Herrman, Elin Synnøve Braathen, Graeme Whittington, Hauk Phillip Bugge, Rune Dennis Tønnesen, Ruben Løfgren, Gjermund Gjesme, Joseph Whittington
Set some time in the future, Everywhen shows us a world where teleportation is in common everyday usage, and education exists in the form of microchips that can be inserted into a device in a person’s wrist. Otherwise it’s a fairly normal world, not too far removed from the world of today. We meet Ian (Furuholmen), a teenager who is looking after his much younger, adopted brother, Dylan (Bugge) while their parents are away. For reasons that are left unexplained, Dylan decides to take his own life one day while Ian heads off to work; he leaves a note in Ian’s pocket that he finds later on. Ian teleports back home but finds Dylan is missing.
What Ian does find is that the world has changed. The home he and Dylan share is different, less well cared for. Outside the streets are strangely empty. The police, led by Jane Scott (Braathen), are doing their best to find out what has happened to what started out as a few thousand people, but has now reached three billion. One of the police’s tech assistants discovers a correlation between the disappearances and eight a.m. when the majority of people are teleporting to get to work, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of where they’re disappearing to (or if they’ll ever come back).
Meanwhile, Ian is surprised by a teenager with a gun (Herrman). The teenager – never named but called The Helper in the credits – wants to know what Ian is doing in his home. After a fight in which neither can best the other, and as the nature of Ian’s predicament deepens (here Dylan is the Helper’s younger blood relative, and he’s also disappeared), they agree to work together to find a solution to the wider problem going on around them. This involves tracking down the creator of the teleportation system, Thomas Wilfred (Graeme Whittington). Wilfred tells them his teleportation system is the cause of the disappearances, as he has been a victim of it himself, and is now aware that the system is a way of connecting not only with the world, or reality, that it was created in, but a vast number of other worlds/realities as well. The drawback is that no one can travel back to their own world unless they use a particular chip…and the last two are kept in Wilfred’s office. Ian and the Helper must find and use the chips – and avoiding the police, who are on the same track – if they are to have any chance of getting back and saving Dylan.
Originally a school project, Everywhen is the brainchild of director Herdal (who also co-wrote the script with Elrik Moe) and editor/visual effects designer/sound mixer Jens Peder Hertzberg, and while certain allowances have to be made on account of their age and their experience when making the movie – they were both seventeen year old students – these don’t impair the movie too much, and it’s a refreshing take on a well-established sci-fi trope. With often impressive visuals, and a good feel for widescreen compositions, Herdal and Hetzberg have created a future world that is instantly recognisable but which also introduces significant differences to make the audience aware of just when everything is happening (a holographic touch-screen device outside a school giving opening times etc. is a clever idea). The added discrepancies between the “real” world and the world Ian finds himself in are also well thought out and often subtle enough to avoid detection on first viewing, and it’s a testament to the amount of time and consideration they’ve put into the project that these things are executed so effectively.
That said, one decision almost threatens to undermine the movie completely. Having taken the decision to use an amateur cast throughout – and it’s obvious this is the case – the further decision to shoot entirely in English for an international release hampers things tremendously. It’s difficult to work out exactly, but Graeme Whittington aside, there are times when it seems as if some of the dialogue is being delivered phonetically, and this can become frustrating at times, especially if the scene is largely expositional. But while some of the performances suffer as a result, the overall effect is one that adds, strangely, to the mix. Furuholmen and Herrman both make impressive debuts (even if Herrman does overplay the disaffected teenager once too often for comfort), and there’s strong support from Braathen and Tønnesen (as a policeman), though some of the smaller roles seem to have been filled by friends or co-students of the movie’s creators (nearly all of the police tech assistants look way too young to be working there).
With its themes surrounding what constitutes reality, and the use of highly dangerous technology as a social improvement, Everywhen isn’t the brainless, action-heavy sci-fi thriller you might expect from a couple of students who’ve obviously lifted elements from other sci-fi movies – The Matrix (1999) and Twelve Monkeys (1995) to name just a couple – but a mature, well-constructed movie that offers some thought-provoking ideas, as well as a strong emotional basis, for its storyline. The special effects are of a consistent and polished nature that put pretty much every SyFy release to shame, and the score by William Edward offers an often striking counterpoint to events occurring on screen, as well as adding to the tension of the action scenes.
Rating: 7/10 – a good first offering from Herdal and Hertzberg, Everywhen gives more than a hint of what these two guys could do with a decent budget and a professional cast; an intriguing idea presented in a surprisingly effective way and well worth seeking out.