Infinity Chamber (2016)
A man wakes up in a room with no windows or metal walls. He has no idea how he got there. He finds a sarcastic robot guardian as a company. Strange things happen as he tries to break out of the jail cell – and in scene three, you’re likely to experience déjà vu from the day you saw Ex Machina or Moon.
The 2016 Infinity Chamber – currently streamed on Amazon Prime – essentially follows the most popular template for any “mysterious science fiction movie”. There is a gloomy backdrop, a clear integration of people and technology and an intelligent protagonist who appears as the voice of reason and grapples with a curious dilemma.
Regardless, the cerebral story lets you dive deep enough to root the main character through the finish line as he plays a posthuman version of Escape-the-Room.
And when you make it to the climax, you will be pampered.
Constructed on an impressively low budget of only $ 125,000, partly funded by Kickstarter, director Travis Milloys experiments amazing film experiments with a complex plot that will test your ability to predict the end and your patience.
As Frank Lerner (Christopher Soren Kelly) tries to leave his deserted, locked room, he is haunted by lucid dreams of sitting in a quaint cafe and talking to a charming barista named Gabby (Cassandra Clark).
Immediately afterwards, Frank wakes up abruptly in his small chamber, only in the company of Howard, an assigned machine companion who recalls 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Hal, Interstellar’s Tens and Moon’s Gerty.
This sequence, which supposedly explains Frank’s imprisonment, repeats itself over and over again … and gives Infinity Chamber its claustrophobic vibe. The warm and personable robot Howard doesn’t have much to say. Howard’s only job is to keep Frank alive.
As the film progresses, you realize what is really going on – with Frank, Howard, and even Gabby.
As a self-proclaimed excellent twist advisor, I was ready to dismiss Infinity Chamber as a satisfactory retelling of the classic apocalyptic survival story. It’s one of many films in which people puzzle their way out of a box-like room in a dystopian world. Some that fall into this niche genre are Cube from 1997, Fermat’s Room from 2008, Exam from 2009 and more recently Escape Room from 2019.
But during the last 15 minutes of the film, I let out a couple of involuntary “wait, what’s up” that were promptly shocked by goosebumps. Infinity Chamber stands out from the crowd by absorbing overused tropics and adding flavor.
The chamber is not just a room. Howard isn’t just a snappy AI and the dreams aren’t accidental.
But while Infinity Chamber’s ending is satisfying enough to make the film a solid weekday choice for a glass of wine and chilling out, it’s not without its flaws. These come from the half-baked subplots of the film.
The film introduces a love story, the idea of existing in one’s own dreams, the question of whether people can really connect with artificial intelligence, and the ethics of prisons like the one Frank is in.
However, instead of delving into these concepts, a lot of time is spent warming up Frank’s pain, living in the metal chamber, and building up to the first milestone – one so obvious that I was confused as to why it should come as a surprise at all.
About halfway through, Infinity Chamber gets a bit boring before it goes back to the third act. Perhaps that could have been solved by exploring the film’s other juicy sci-fi ideas – there were so many interesting avenues that weren’t taken.
Even so, Infinity Chamber is a treat from start to finish. The tight budget and limited cons are barely noticeable due to the pristine production quality, terrific acting, and an intelligent story that is eerily connected in the final scene – one that makes the whole hour and 38 minutes 100% worthwhile.
Movies are coming from Netflix, Marvel, HBO, and more in 2021 and 2022
See all photos