FANTASIA FEST 2022: ‘Relax, I’m From The Future’ Delivers Laughs, Introspection, and Time Travel

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Relax I'm From The Future - But Why Tho

Relax, I’m From The Future is written and directed by Luke Higginson, and based on his short film of the same name. A man named Casper (Rhys Darby) time travels to the past, intending to guide mankind through a terrible catastrophe. He soon encounters Holly (Gabrielle Graham) and starts working with her to change the world while also helping her out in her personal life. When another time traveler arrives, hell-bent on killing Casper, Holly soon starts to unravel the mystery behind the future, as well as Casper’s true motives for traveling back to the past.

Time travel films often revolve around a character attempting to change the past due to some horrible calamity that befalls the future. Key examples include The Terminator, Avengers: Endgame, and of course, Marty McFly trying to make sure his parents hook up in Back to the FutureRelax, I’m From The Future takes a different path, as the future Casper comes from is regarded as a great one. It’s a rather novel approach and a nice breath from the usually apocalyptic stakes that are part and parcel of these stories. It also lets Higginson pose a question: if the future turns out to be pretty good, what does that mean for our own personal responsibility?

The film’s leads answer that question. Darby, coming off of his charming turn as Stede Bonnet in Our Flag Means Death, delivers a frazzled performance as Casper. Here is a man who has access to a life-changing technology, yet he comes off less like Doctor Who and more like an absent-minded professor. And Graham plays Holly as a rather cynical person who’s been beaten down by life, yet can’t help but take a shine to the man who claims he’s from the future. Darby and Graham’s chemistry is the major draw of the film; they have a great rapport that’s tested and stretches as the film goes on. You know you’re in for a great buddy film when the buddies bond over nachos and rock bands.

It leads to a rather emotional third act, as a new pair of characters enter the fray: the aforementioned time-traveling killer Doris (Janine Theriault) and aspiring cartoonist Percy (Julian Richings). This leads to a number of revelations, and like recent time travel fare (Synchronic, Needle In A TimestackRelax ties all of its time-bending shenanigans together with a surprisingly emotional revelation. However, some of the plot twists feel way too late in the game, as if they were added solely to make the film feature-length. Granted, this isn’t the first time a filmmaker has tried to expand upon a short film, but there’s a trick to it. That being said, Higginson delivers some razor-sharp quips as well as a clever editing style that makes certain frames of the film resemble panels in a comic book.

Relax, I’m From The Future is a rather unorthodox time travel comedy with a heartfelt message buried under its deceptively simple narrative. At every film festival I’ve attended, I’ve found at least one or two films that are a pleasant surprise. And this is one of them. Hopefully, it’ll be available in theaters or streaming next year because this is a film that could appeal to a lot of people.

Relax, I’m From The Future had its world premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2022.


Relax, I'm From The Future

TL;DR

Relax, I’m From The Future is a rather unorthodox time travel comedy with a heartfelt message buried under its deceptively simple narrative. At every film festival I’ve attended I’ve found at least one or two films that are a pleasant surprise. And this is one of them. Hopefully, it’ll be available in theaters or streaming next year because this is a film that could appeal to a lot of people.

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