You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘7 Splinters in Time’

A futuristic detective is hunted by one of his many doppelgangers in Gabriel Judet-Weinshel’s scattershot sci-fi noir.

Gabriel Judet-Weinshel
Edoardo Ballerini, Greg Bennick, Austin Pendleton, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Giuliana Carullo, Lynn Cohen.
Release Date:
Jul 13, 2018

1 hour 15 minutes

A time-traveler becomes fragmented in disastrous ways, and so too does the film itself, in “7 Splinters in Time,” edited to ribbons in a schizoid manner that likely only makes complete sense to its maker. Writer-director Gabriel Judet-Weinshel’s feature wears numerous influences on its sleeve, yet derivation isn’t the problem here; rather, it’s a scattershot structure that undercuts the cohesiveness (and effectiveness) of its story about a man haunted — and hunted — by doppelgangers. Despite some serviceable lo-fi effects, its limited theatrical run will no doubt be a brief one, followed by a more extended home-video residence alongside similar VOD-grade efforts.

The film commences with so many fast-forward montages of baffling sights and half-formed scenes that it’s initially difficult to get one’s bearings, although a partially clear through-line does materialize. Darius Lefaux (Edoardo Ballerini) is a faux-hardboiled detective in a nameless industrial future-noir city who rejoins the force after an involuntary hiatus. No sooner has he resumed his duties than men who look just like him start to turn up dead — a situation that would be more surprising to Darius if not for the fact that he’s constantly walking past identical-twin strangers. If that weren’t confusing enough, Darius can’t remember anything about his childhood, and the world around him seem to be on the fritz, with structures and objects fluctuating in blasts of static. His illogical response to this turn of events? To stop taking his antipsychotic meds.

Using a cornucopia of film formats and rear-projection tricks, Judet-Weinshel brings to uneven life both Darius’ shadowy urban home and his home movie-ish memories of an incident involving a young man, his girlfriend (Giuliana Carullo) and two nude figures who materialize, out of the blue, in the middle of the road. That event ends in tragedy, but a lucid account of what has precisely taken place doesn’t come until much later. In the meantime, Darius randomly searches for clues about his doubles, one of whom is dressed in white and has a fondness for stabbing his look-alikes with a knife; he tends to an old lady named Babs (Lynn Cohen) with whom he lives; and he visits a psychiatrist (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who, like so many others, refers to him as Daniel.

Darius’ circumstances are soon explicated by run-ins with cryptic librarian Fyodor Wax (Austin Pendleton) and bald hermit John Luka (Greg Bennick), the latter of whom flies around in a ludicrous makeshift contraption and speaks into his own camera — and to the audience — in motor-mouthed close-up monologues. Aesthetically and narratively speaking, “7 Splinters in Time” melds bits and pieces of “Eraserhead,” “Blade Runner,” “12 Monkeys,” “Dark City” and “Looper,” albeit with such editorial business that any legitimate sense of place, character or emotion slips through the cracks. Full of piano, orchestral arrangements and other assorted noises, Judet-Weinshel’s score is as eclectic as the script is all over the place. While George Nicholas’ dynamic cinematography, fixated on spiral and mirror imagery, conjures an adequate fatalistic-dreamy mood, it’s not enough to compensate for a general lack of focus, exacerbated by clues that are introduced, explained and dropped on a dime.

Judet-Weinshel’s blitzkrieg aesthetics muddy his tale, whose themes of fate, sacrifice and salvation get lost in the convulsive shuffle. And his cast’s performances — at least one of which comes equipped with a hilarious fake mustache — range from the half-engaged (Chriqui) to the blandly blank (Ballerini) to the hyperactively grating (Bennick). Darius’ mystery eventually involves a project dubbed Omphalus, which in Greek is translated to “navel,” a fitting revelation for a chaotic film fixated, above all else, on its own style.

Film Review: '7 Splinters in Time'

Reviewed at the Anthology Film Archives, New York, July 9, 2018. Running time: 75 MIN.

Production: A Gravitas Ventures release of an Intrinsic Value Films and Red Giant Entertainment production in association with Macrocosm Entertainment, Wax Wing Films and Lunacy Prods. Producers: Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof, Gill Holland, Edoardo Ballerini, Gabriel Judet-Weinshel, George Nicholas, Ty Walker, Trevor Crafts. Executive producers: Christian Cooper, Stu Pollard, Mark Myers, Sig de Miguel, Stephen Vincent, Joseph Lagana. Co-producer: Alex Sanchez.

Crew: Director, writer: Gabriel Judet-Weinshel. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): George Nicholas. Editor: Tim Chaffee, Chris Fiore, Judet-Weinshel. Music: Judet-Weinshel.

With: Edoardo Ballerini, Greg Bennick, Austin Pendleton, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Giuliana Carullo, Lynn Cohen.

More Film

  • Alibaba Expands Film Investment, Loans $100

    Alibaba Expands Film Investment Plan, Loans $100 Million to Huayi Bros.

    Alibaba Pictures Group, the film business arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has struck a strategic co-operation deal with leading film studio Huayi Brothers. The deal terms include a $103 million (RMB700 million) loan to Huayi. Alibaba Pictures said the agreement was part of its recently announced strategy to be a part of major movies [...]

  • Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear

    Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear Ex'

    Netflix has added to its roster of Mandarin-language content with the acquisition of rights to Taiwanese dark comedy “Dear Ex.” The award-winning film will play out from Feb. 1. The story involves a recently bereaved widow and a gay man fighting over a dead man’s inheritance, with the woman’s teenage son caught in the middle. [...]

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Will Oscar Nominations Give This Year's Contenders a Box Office Boost?

    With nominees like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star Is Born,” the 2018 class of movies proved the Oscars don’t need a popular films category to recognize movies that also made bank in theaters. But now that the academy has selected this year’s crop of awards hopefuls, is there any green left to squeeze [...]

  • A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's

    Sundance: A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's Romance-Drama 'The Souvenir'

    A24 has bought the North American rights to Tilda Swinton’s romance-drama “The Souvenir – Part 2,” closing the deal on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. “The Souvenir” is set to make its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, followed by playing in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February. [...]

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    Chiwetel Ejiofor Adds Authenticity to Directorial Debut by Shooting in Malawi

    When actor Chiwetel Ejiofor optioned the rights for the 2009 best-seller “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” penning the screenplay for a feature directorial debut that world-premieres in Sundance and then appears in the Berlin Film Festival before being released globally by Netflix this spring, colleagues floated the idea of shooting the Malawi-set film in tried-and-tested [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content