Infinitum: Subject Unknown is an intriguing British sci-fi thriller that plays out in a Groundhog Day-like scenario. Jane (Tori Butler-Hart) is the heroine who finds herself continuously gagged and tied up to a chair. Jane is in the same drab attic of a suburban home in London, England. There, she finds herself in a time loop. She tries to find clues to help her inch closer to freedom. And she uncovers the mysteries of the precarious time loop predicament that she find herself stuck in.
While the film’s focus is completely on Jane’s story, there are also appearances by Sir Ian McKellan as Dr. Charles Marland-White and Conleth Hill as Professor Aaron Ostergaard. They are both from a particular mysterious research center. Jane keeps having unexplained flashbacks about that center of while finding clues about her situation. There’s very little dialogue in the film and no other onscreen co-stars. So Butler-Hart as Jane truly carries the weight of the film with her performance.
Through Tori Butler-Hart uses intense facial expressions and mannerisms here. Butler-Hart really draws the viewer into the human nature of this sci-fi story. Butler-Hart’s performance make sure we feel Jane’s frustration and tenacity. She certainly is the heart of the film and through her, it almost succeeds in its emotional storytelling. She also co-wrote the film’s script with husband Matthew, who directed the film. Mr. Butler-Hart impressively shot it on an iPhone during the first lockdown in London in the Spring of 2020. Definite kudos to all involved in navigating the film’s creation during that time.
Sure, Butler-Hart’s performance as Jane kept me interested. And although certainly impressive in the circumstances of its creation, Infinitum: Subject Unknown doesn’t quite come together in its execution. In particular, there’s the repetitive time loop scenario, especially in the first half of the film. It takes place in one house, and becomes increasingly tedious. The slow pacing bogged the story down. And it certainly could have used a tighter edit. That would have kept the story moving at a quicker and more thrilling pace.
The big ideas the film presents about infinite possibilities and parallel universes are compelling. It also manages to tell a somewhat decent time loop sci-fi story. But while the second half of the film moves quicker, it also becomes a bit more perplexing. The plot becomes more convoluted and tangled in its own storytelling mythology. The big ideas don’t payoff in the end as much as they could have through more explanation. It ultimately leaves some unresolved plot points up in the air. And although driven by its emotionally resonant lead performance by Tori Butler-Hart, Infinitum: Subject Unknown is occasionally frustrating and slower paced.