Student films have an honored place within the classroom, but placing novice helmer/lit major Thomas Ikimi’s “Limbo” in an international festival loads it with more import than it can stand. Blending a noirish murder mystery with quasi-religious discussions of action versus consequence, pic has trouble negotiating overly ambitious territory that owes as much to the Wachowski Brothers as Sartre. Made on the cheap on mini-DV and looking every bit like celluloid’s poor relation, “Limbo” is unlikely to escape the inert vacuum implied by its title.
Opening with a “DOA”-style voiceover, pic has the symbolically named Adam Moses (Christopher Russo) contemplating the limits of free will as he races to save the life of gambling addict Vaughn James (Eric Christie). Moses is a Gotham attorney involved in a mob case that takes a bizarre twist when he gets shot, but suffers no physical effects. Instead, he finds himself in a time loop which repeats itself no matter what actions he takes. Occasional Hal Hartley-esque moments lack the necessary wit, and cliched dialogue feels leaden in the mouths of thesps with rhythm and delivery problems. Over-present music is cookie-cutter derivative.