Time Lapse (2014) Explained

Time Lapse (2014) Explained

In a quiet residential complex, caretaker manager Finn (Matt O’Leary) together with his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and best friend Jasper (George Finn) investigate the apartment of a dead scientist, only to discover a mysterious camera pointed directly at their living room window capable of taking photos 24 hours into the future.

Rather than calling the police, the housemates use the device to make their wildest dreams come true, but after exploiting the camera for personal gain they soon find themselves blindly recreating whatever future the photos show them, or else risk the perils of messing with time, in this paradox-filled sci-fi thriller.

Time Lapse movie plot

As part of his research, the dead scientist (Mr Bezzerides) set his strange device to take a photo of the housemates’ lounge at 8 pm each night, but one day when apparently tinkering with his camera and viewing events even further forward he is horrified to see a Polaroid taken 2 weeks into the future appearing to depict his own death. The photo shows a blood-stained window, the scientist’s hat on the sofa, and a painting of a thorium canister, and whilst investigating his basement lock-up where the thorium is kept he accidentally causes the accident which leads to his own demise. The whole story we subsequently see in Time Lapse is the series of events that ultimately lead up to that photo depicting the scientist’s apparent murder.

Meanwhile, we get to see the trio of friends use the camera for their own selfish purposes, including Finn using the photos to overcome artist’s block and reveal his next future painting, Jasper making bundles of cash betting on the following day’s racing results, and Callie earning enough money to give up her waiting job and focus on becoming an author. We later find out Callie had discovered the device also takes another photo at 8 am and after removing all the photos on the scientist’s wall showing her secret affair with Jasper months earlier, she then starts using the 8 am morning photo shoot to communicate with herself, and send/messages in order to shape events and rekindle her relationship with Finn.

Temporal paradoxes in Time Lapse

In any story involving backward time travel, we can expect a number of bizarre temporal paradoxes to occur. In the case of Time Lapse, these involve a series of daily bootstrap or ontological paradoxes in which information, rather than a person, is sent back in time to create a circular loop in which the information does not appear to have a discernible point of origin.

Examples in the movie include Finn’s paintings, which he create only after seeing them in a future photo showing them already painted, raising the question where did the inspiration for the paintings come from in the first place? Other bootstrap paradoxes include Callie’s messages to herself, such as reminding herself to knock over the coat rack for the photo because she saw a future photo with the coat rack lying on the floor, an idea that has no discernible point of origin. Jasper’s gambling results are a further example of a bootstrap paradox as in true chicken-and-egg fashion the camera provides all the results, and Jasper then simply stands in front of the camera with the results written on a board before writing them down and sending the information back to himself 24 hours earlier.

Is there an element of Self-fulfilling Prophecy?

There also appear to be strong elements of self-fulfilling prophecy in the story, with the characters receiving a photo from 24 hours in the future (prophecy) before setting about fulfilling the scene in the exact same way as shown.

Perhaps, Mr. Bezzerides provides the most extreme example of a self-fulfilling prophecy as he thinks he sees his own death two weeks into the future before mailing the photo to his colleague Dr. Heidecker and setting off to inadvertently cause the very accident which kills him. In fact, Time Lapse appears replete with numerous examples of predestination paradoxes as at no point in the movie do the characters ever seem to deviate from the future events which are shown to them.

Furthermore, when Callie does try to stick a ‘DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW’ (by Finn at 8 am) note on the window at the end of the story, the message falls off thus ensuring the future depicted in the photo of the scientist’s apparent murder remains exactly the same.

Can they change the future?

Early on in the movie, Callie explains to Finn and Jasper her belief that failing to obey the events shown in the photos would ultimately lead to their ending up like Mr. Bezzerides. As she describes whilst sketching her timeline drawing:

“The camera spits out a photo of us in the future. Then we go about our day making a series of decisions that lead up to that moment. But, if we deviate from those decisions, then this photo never happens, which means us, the people who saw the original photo can’t go forward because our futures don’t exist anymore [glancing over at Mr. Bezzerides hat on the stand].”

As a result, the trio of friends use the device to receive photos from themselves 24 hours into the future before passing on the same message to their past selves 24 hours in the past to keep the timeline from being altered. In other words, Callie promotes the idea that they cannot change the future and if they don’t perform the actions seen in the photo then they will either end up incinerated like Mr. Bezzerides, or simply cease to exist on their own timeline.

However, we later discover Callie believes no such thing and had been using the 8 am photo shoot to pass messages to herself in order to manipulate events and salvage her relationship with Finn. She’d also switched around some of the 8 pm photos shown to Finn and Casper, and at the end of the movie after the Jasper/Finn fight, sends a photo message to herself with the instruction to now swap the affair photo with one showing the charades night (SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT). As a result, while the evening 8 pm timeline appears to follow a predetermined and inevitable pattern, the morning 8 am timeline appears flexible, full of possibilities and subject to manipulation by Callie, the real manipulator of events in the movie.

Can Callie actually change the past?

Throughout the movie, Callie had been using the device to receive and send photos to herself at 8 am so as to manipulate the timeline and fix her relationship with Finn. Examples include messages such as KISS JASPER TOO LONG, GO WITH FINN TO CAR, DON’T FORGIVE FINN, etc.

Near the end of the movie Finn catches Callie at the window at 8 am sending a message to herself saying SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT, KILL JASPER TO SAVE FINN, resulting in Finn feeling betrayed and wanting to destroy the machine and end his relationship with her. However, Callie continues to believe she can change her present by changing the past, and after killing Finn to stop him walking out on her subsequently tries to change the ‘8 pm’ police marked crime scene’ photo by sticking a note on the window saying DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW.

In other words, she tries to prevent Finn from finding out about her 8 am photo shoot as she believes this will prevent the argument which resulted in Finn trying to walk out on her. Callie’s assumption is that by causing the past to change, the present will adjust accordingly, and presumably the day she had just experienced would turn out differently.

Is it a revised or predetermined timeline?

On the face of it, Callie’s belief she can change the past seems to be a misconception because as far as we witness none of the events in Time Lapse were ever altered from those shown in the photos, and if her plan of sticking the note on the window had worked it clearly would have resulted in the photo showing Mr. Bezzerides’ apparent death being changed to one slightly different from the one seen by his colleague, Dr. Heidecker. Nevertheless, Callie seems convinced that changing events is possible, for instance when she swapped the ‘police tape’ photo for the one of Jasper and her having sex, or when she tells Finn “It’s gonna be OK. We won’t remember any of this tomorrow”.

Time Lapse (2014) ExplainedOn the one hand, Callie’s belief that she can alter her own timeline doesn’t seem to be borne out by anything that is shown in the movie, and it is just as likely that had she succeeded in changing events she would probably have created an alternate timeline where she was not caught at the window, and Finn and her did escape together. In her own timeline, however, Finn would still be dead and there would still be an extremely messy crime scene for the police to investigate.

At the same time, it’s equally possible the version of events we see in Time Lapse are only the ones showing Callie’s successful changes and, unlike many other time travel movies, Callie’s repeats and alterations that she successfully managed to make are not shown. In other words, we are not shown Callie’s alterations which cause a ripple effect and reset the preset. As to whether events were predetermined in Time Lapse, or if the photos could be changed, director Bradley D. King in a revealing interview with Taylor Holmes said:

“In spite of Heidecker’s explanation, Jasper obviously believes there is no way to alter the photos. Finn seems to have come around to the possibility that things can be altered, but only out of desperation, and it seems to me that when he packs that suitcase he’s still not 100% sure what might happen. And then of course Callie obviously is convinced that things can be changed, which probably came out of her experience of doing things behind the scenes and feeling a sense of empowerment from that. But who’s right? I think the question is definitely more interesting than any answer I could give. In my own imagination I have definitely explored both ways, and both are interesting.”

Timeline of events in Time Lapse

1: Callie discovers Mr Bezzerides dead inside his apartment and an unusual camera which takes photos 24 hours into the future at 8 pm everyday.

2: After Jasper suggests that the trio (Callie, Finn, Jasper) use the camera to win money gambling, the first photo produced shows the next day’s racing results, as well as a new painting by Finn. Wary of the fate which befell Mr. Bezzerides, they then assume they must now enact all the events depicted in the photo or else risk annihilation.

3: The trio hide Mr Bezzerides’s death from the complex’s security guard, Big Joe.

4: One week later they receive a photograph of Callie kissing Jasper.

5: Jasper’s gangster bookie Ivan discovers the camera and forces the trio to pose for photos showing him which races and runners to gamble upon. After seeing a photo of a skull and crossbones painted onto one of Finn’s works, Jasper interprets this as a warning and while the trio are being threatened by Ivan, subsequently manages to kill him and his henchman Marcus before dumping their bodies off in Mr. Bezzerides’s storage unit.

6: Dr. Heidecker shows up after receiving a photograph of her colleague, Mr. Bezzerides, and his hat placed on a sofa near the bloodstained window of the trio’s apartment. The photo depicts the events scheduled for the following day, but Jasper deals with the situation by killing Dr. Heidecker.

7: Finn discovers a photograph showing Callie and Jasper having sex which he assumes will take place the following night, and then tries to argue and stop the event from happening.

8: Jasper attacks and locks Finn inside Mr. Bezzerides’s storage unit, after which Finn manages to escape and threatens to destroy the camera. Jasper almost kills Finn, but Callie rescues him by bashing Jasper’s head in.

9: Finn catches Callie sending an 8 am photo to herself with the messages SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT, and KILL JASPER TO SAVE FINN. Callie then comes clean and admits that she had been using the hitherto secret 8 am photo shot to shape events and rescue her relationship with Finn.

10: Finn determines to destroy the camera, but Callie subsequently shoots him resulting in the blood splatter seen in the original photo Mr. Bezzerides sent to Dr. Heidecker (taken sometime between 8 am and 8 pm but not at those specific times). Having already taken an 8 am photo, Callie then tries to change the 8 pm photo which should show a police-taped crime scene, with one of her holding a sign stating DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW.

11: Big Joe shows up and discovers the murdered bodies of Jasper and Finn, and so arrests Callie. While she is led away her message falls off the window indicating the camera will not record the note, events will not be altered, and she will go to jail for multiple murders. The movie ends with the initial scene depicted in the photo sent to Dr. Heidecker unchanged.

Related Posts


  1. Also, I don’t believe the premise is possible from even a philosophical perspective (obviously it’s not literally possible to have a camera that sees into the future) unless it is IMPOSSIBLE for each picture not to be created. This suggests that it was predetermined that they would look at the pictures and act accordingly. For all the months the camera had functioned w/o their knowledge, events transpired causing each image to come true. The whole movie, they needn’t have been worried about “fucking with time” because it doesn’t seem feesible that it would even be possible to make it so that the picture doesn’t come true. This brings up larger issues of free will because obviously they could have flown to china after seeing the first picture and that picture wouldn’t have come true, but if u believe in determinism (which is the only real way this movie makes any sense), it was already determined that they wouldn’t do that

  2. I still don’t understand how u could possibly change the present by changing the past. It’s not like everything would just *poof* change. Callie should have known if she was successful in her note she never would have killed jasper or her boyfriend in the first place because it would have been in the picture she recieved the previous morning. I think it would, as the article explains, be possible for her to alter events in another timeline. Some other version of herself, living one day behind (if u believe in multiple universe theory and multiple timelines) would conceivably get her message and changed accordingly, but her boyfriend still would be dead in this timeline.

  3. How did Jasper not remember the photo of him and Callie being of an event in the past? I loved the movie(watched last night) but have a lot of these types of questions.

  4. I think the past can be changed. Let’s imagine the following series of events:

    1) Jasper kills Finn just before 8am Wed.
    2) Callie sends a message to her past self at 8am Wed to save Finn by killing Jasper.
    3) Past is changed. Now Callie receives the message at 8am Tuesday. But at this point she has no knowledge of exactly what happened on Wed. She can only guess.
    4) Callie heeds the message and kills Jasper to save Finn just before 8am Wed.
    5) Callie sends a message to herself at 8am Wed to save Finn by killing Jasper because if she doesn’t, the timeline switches back to the original one where Finn dies. She believes that the photo is an instruction from her future self and now she has to make sure the instruction is sent to her past self.

    Whenever a message is posted, the PAST is changed. Meaning when the photo is received, it is already PAST version 2. When the photo was taken (message posted), it is FUTURE version 1. Meaning FUTURE version 1 takes place chronologically (if you view the events from outside both timelines) before PAST version 2. It makes no sense that a photo is developed in the absence of agency. Someone has to take the picture in the first place.

    The exact same photos have to be taken TWICE in order to finalize an event (no more changes can be made). This cements the past. Otherwise, the past can be infinitely reset/changed.

    Now let’s imagine that the past cannot be changed.

    Future version 1 (where no photo and hence no message is received):

    1) Callie joins Finn at the car.
    2) Callie sends a message to past Callie to do the thing she has already done without any instruction from her future self.

    How does that make any sense?

    I feel that this makes more sense (and avoids the usual time travel paradox):

    Future version 1 (where no photo and hence no message is received):

    1) Callie doesn’t join Finn at the car.
    2) Callie regrets her decision and sends a message to past Callie to join Finn at the car.

    Past resets. Past version 2:

    3) Callie receives message.
    4) Callie joins Finn at the car.
    5) Callie sends a message to past Callie to join Finn at the car to finalize the event.

  5. Can someone recommend more such time travel (+mind f***)movies? I’ve already seen Predestination, Triangle, Donnie Darko, Back to the future series..

  6. Ok I am confused. Let’s just take the end part where Callie says “At the end, none of this will matter.” She herself is not going back in time correct? So there must be 2 alternate timelines going on. While she is protecting her past self, her present self would still be arrested and go to jail so all her effort would really be for nothing since her present self would suffer the full consequnces. Correct?

    • The idea would be that she is doing all this to help another version of herself from an alternate time line. She still gets screwed but that other version of herself in the past is better off…. one could compare it in the real world with how people have the instinct to sacrifice themselves for their children for example. They know they will die but their kids will go on… that’s the only way I can make any sense of it.

  7. I understand that all time travel movies will have a ton of questions but this movie it a bit silly.

    The idea is amazing. The actual execution of the plot is really poor.

    If present Callie wants to warn past Callie about not getting caught at the window-what happens to present Callie when the security guard takes her away? Does present Callie think that future (her present timeline) won’t exist/will stop existing so it doesn’t matter?

    Also, why doesn’t she just shoot the security guard? If none it “matters anyway”?

    How does Jasper get his FIRST winning bet results? I get how he got the rest of them but how does he get the FIRST one?

    As well as that, how does Finn get inspiration for his own FIRST painting?

    When Callie and Jasper are having sex in the photo why is Finn asleep? Is he knocked out? Drugged? Or just asleep? Wouldn’t Finn have remembered waking up there?

    Also at the end, Callie could just tell the police about the machine.

    • “How does Jasper get his FIRST winning bet results? I get how he got the rest of them but how does he get the FIRST one?”
      He gets them all the same way… what is different about the first time? They are picture from 24h in the future, all of them.

  8. So Callie knocks over the coat stand when that 8pm photo is taken. Did she in that timeline basically do that accidentally as she pulled off her coat? Because her past self did it on purpose, following the message she got, which she sends the next morning and is received 12 hours before the stand should be knocked over By her past self? So did it just make it seem like it happened naturally in the present like the movie showed because of the ripple effect?

    Also if the last note successfully remained on the window, the dr would’ve seen that note in the bloody window pic that he took 2 weeks prior, right? Then he would prob still go down to the storage unit and die but when his colleague showed it, Finn and Japser would wonder what the “Don’t get caught at window” note was all about? Then when they did Jaspers “money shot”, Callie would still swap it with the sex photo and she’d successfully remind her past self to not get caught but Finn and Jasper would’ve seen the note in the pic that Dr sent to his colleague, too… But I guess if the note remained on the window, she successfully would’ve changed the past?

    • the modeling book scene was the scene before jasper put weapons around the house, it showed him standing outside their door like a creeper at the end of it

  9. The concept of this film was awesome but I felt like the execution was poor. The character’s motives and actions made very little sense on several occasions. For example, the three protagonists are pretty good friends at the start of the film, it’s completely unbelievable that Jasper would decide to murder them and there’s no obvious motive. They could’ve placed bets at a bookies like Ladbrokes or something rather than dealing with some sketchy gangster, which would’ve made someone noticing/caring about their winning streak far less likely too. Also, killing Dr. Heidecker made no sense, and they kept trying to perfectly recreate the scenes after she made it clear that they didn’t need to. The sex photo having Finn in the background makes no sense either, why would Callie cheat on him with Jasper while Finn was asleep in the same room? How was Callie so willing to shoot her boyfriend to death and unfazed by watching him die, even if she believed it could be changed that’s psychopathic. Why didn’t she shoot the cop? What was the point of the unrevealed photo at the end, it’s shot like some big dramatic reveal but all it tells us is that the camera kept working, which it had no reason not to. Overall the film left me extremely dissatisfied. Having questions after a time travel movie is normal, but when basically all of those questions are “what was x’s motive for y” there’s a problem.

  10. ok.
    I liked some ideas in this script, like pre-destination, free will, the paradox of the paintings’ inspiration…
    am I the only one who thinks the basic plot makes no sense???
    The camera takes a picture of something in the future, it does not send YOU into the future. You are always in the present.
    Therefore, you cannot send info to yourself from the future because at no time have you ever left the present.
    Maybe if they moved a tv to the window and left it on ESPN News they might’ve gotten lucky and seen some future scores (and not just commercials!)

    • Rather, the camera sends pictures to the past so they follow the pics and the ripple effect adjusts the present maybe? because the pics they follow come out of the camera exactly 24 hours before. The pics the camera spits out in the movie have already taken exactly 24 hours ahead by their future selves, So the results of the race are taken at 8pm of the day when the race has already taken place, and their past selves get them 24 hours prior, which is when they are having that party before the race has happened.

  11. What I don’t understand is Mr. B.
    It was apparently an accident, but like they said initially, his clothes weren’t burned. Which is why they thought “time” smited him for breaking the rules.
    We find out that’s apparently not true and that it’s all just an “accident” that happened when he reached for the coil. How the heck did his clothes not burn then? It wouldn’t have just burned his exposed flesh without even touching his clothing.

  12. This explanation doesn’t actually explain why the camera takes a picture after the 8am shot just add Callie is getting arrested. This obviously is not inline with the normal 8am and 8pm shots. Basically, there are three cycles of pictures. The first is the 8pm shots that show 24 hours ahead. The second is the 8am shots that Callie reveals at the end that also reveal 24 hours ahead. The third, which was hinted by Dr. Heidecker, is the 2 weeks ahead shots. Except Dr. Heidecker didn’t know or say it was a cycle so we, the movie viewers, and the main characters just took it as a one time thing. So the last picture taken at the end of the movie was not the 8am nor the 8pm shot. Callie was putting up the “Don’t get caught at the window” note in preparation for the 8pm shot. She thought she could change the original 8pm shot by taping it on the window (and I guess assuming the police would leave it up there since it would be considered evidence). What she didn’t know was that it would take another picture right after the note drops and she gets arrested. That is when we are supposed to realize or figure out that that is the time of when the “2 weeks ahead” photo cycle is taken. It is taken at that time every two weeks. This is why no one knew about it. The movie ends by showing another polaroid being printed but cuts away before it is developed. That is because it wouldn’t show a picture of what happened at that moment; it would show a picture of what the living room would look like 2 weeks from that moment which is not the important thing. The important thing is that there was a 2 week cycle of photos just like the 24 hr 8am and 8pm cycles and it happened to take its photos at the exact time.

  13. I loved the movie. Tightly written, directed, scored and acted. I enjoyed the tension between the characters and the geographical tension of having quite literally only 4 set pieces.

    However, there is one thing that escapes me…Why would Callie put “Kill Jasper to Save Finn” on the window, when Jasper was already dead? The future timeline is now meaningless (in terms of on what day things happen, ya know?) so why put the note on the window? Jasper was killed by Callie in that timeline, a day ahead of when he was supposed to be killed.

    Callie made it seem like there’s a reset button every morning and given the way the context of the previous 90 minutes played out, we know that’s not true. So…..?? Can anyone help me understand this portion?

    Everything else, I get and fully understand. It’s just the timeline/window/Jasper death thing that really bothers me.

    • There are two different ways of thinking about this, and opinion seems divided on the issue, namely:

      1: Callie is able to change the past, and cause a ripple effect on the preset.

      2: Callie misunderstood that she can change the past.

      Number 1 option suggests Callie had successfully been manipulating the timeline all along during her 8am photo shoot, and revising events to suit her own ends. If this was the case, we may only have seen her corrected, seamless timeline version in the movie. Therefore, the “Kill Jasper to Save Finn” message at the end of the film may have been an example of Callie attempting to ‘change her present by changing the past’ by contacting her yesterday self, who could then act accordingly and ultimately revise the timeline leading to the reality of today’s Callie being different.

      Number 2 suggests Callie genuinely made a mistake, and that while she understood the power to deviate slightly from the future shown in the picture, she didn’t understand that she couldn’t rewrite the past, as she would then be truly messing with time. The note falling off the window could then be an example of the ‘Time line protection hypothesis’ which prevents past events from being altered.

  14. Just saw this…. First off…. Great review and explanation….. I agree with most of it…. I also questioned under what circumstance Finn was able to paint.. Finn, Jasper and Callie should have known they could change their original timeline because Finn started to paint using just the inspiration of the photo, but they never know how he got inspired the first time, and Callie never says she knows how he got inspired…. This leads to my second point, I don’t think Callie was able to change the timeline or create a new one, and everything unfolds exactly like it should….. This is why she gets caught and their is no actual proof they can change anything, including the creater of the machine the Dr. was not able to change his death…… I’m guessing the only information left out is how Finn was inspired, and the difference or the lack of information permits us view a different timeline where Finn is inspired just by a photo of a painting he made because of who knows why…… Make it a possible 2nd timeline.

  15. This movie tumbled on so many levels it actually bothered me to see people describe it as a gem as it stands. But, despite feeling like this movie went full tropic thunder on me towards the last act, I do understand how personal affinities with particular genres can extend merits for any production that at the very least takes a shot at it and comes close. But in the realm of time-travel paradoxes it’s typically a shot in the dark, where you are expected to stay.

    Without being particularly fond of these types of movies, I’ll extend my free credits and kudos to the good use of limited locations and for performances by the actors who turned in a few shining moments the script lends itself to initially, briefly, before introducing flat character notes and delivering tonal shifts big enough to cause you to question the direction. The twists and turns might be sound sci-play for some but it seemed like I had to just play along to avoid noting the why-don’t-they-just and oh-come-on’s that you entertain from horror flicks as part of the fun. (Think grindhouse).

    Needless to say the greatest disappointment in this time lapse movie is the contradiction of temporal continuity that attempts to conveniently introduce other paradoxes for the purpose of surmounting a cluster-f#ck of possible time capsules that could cross each other perpetually until the end of time.. or shoot each other with freakin laser beams attached to their heads.

  16. Maybe I’m a little dense. I don’t understand how Jasper makes money on the bets with photos. If he post that day’s race results in the window and the 8 pm camera takes a picture, when they look at the race results it will be from 24 hour prior or yesterday, andthat betting for that is way over. So, how to it help the future Jasper to see day-old race results?

    • Jasper takes a photo of today’s racing results, but receives a photo of tomorrow’s racing results in return. The racing results which Jasper poses for today are received by yesterday’s Jasper, who has not experienced the present yet and so can take advantage of the results.

  17. I think everyone is looking at it backwards. It isn’t that the camera took pictures of the future so much as it let them send information to the past. Jasper and Finn had little impact on things because they looked at it has having to do what the future pic showed. Callie likely went through much trial and error in multiple resulting timelines by sending messages to herself in the past. The movie only showed us one timeline that resulted from her final decisions of how to proceed after her trial and error.

    • I see what you’re saying … but …

      Why would Callie put “Kill Jasper to Save Finn” on the window, when Jasper was already dead? The future timeline is now meaningless (in terms of on what day things happen, ya know?) so why put the note on the window? Jasper was killed by Callie in that timeline, a day ahead of when he was supposed to be killed.

      Callie made it seem like there’s a reset button every morning (saying “tomorrow it’ll be like none of this ever happened”) and given the way the context of the previous 90 minutes played out, we know that’s not true. So…..??

      • She put it on the window to send instructions to a past self to create a new timeline. She is sending instructions back each day to create a timeline she considers successful. The self that put the note in the window won’t experience that timeline, the self that sees the note will go down the path of a new timeline. Somewhere in all the timelines there will be one of her where everything works out exactly how she wants. Until she gets arrested and can’t put any more notes in the window, of course.

        TA = Timeline A

        Starting with TA she makes some choices and figures out which ones were right choices. She puts a note in the window. A past self sees it and this splits into TB.

        Self in TB goes down a different timeline, makes the choices the note said to make, plus some other choices, and puts a different note in the window. The past self that sees the note goes down the path of TC. Lather, rinse, repeat. By continuing to tweak her choices she is trying to end up with T? where everything works out the way she wants.

      • // Callie made it seem like there’s a reset button every morning (saying “tomorrow it’ll be like none of this ever happened”) and given the way the context of the previous 90 minutes played out, we know that’s not true. So…..??//

        It isn’t true for the Callie in the timeline where she puts the note in the window, but for the Callie in the new timeline that is created that reads the note, those things never happen.

  18. Wouldn’t Jasper had known something was wrong when he saw the picture of the affair since he would’ve known it already happened instead of going to happen?

    Also, what was Finn realizing as he was painting the final painting? Supposedly, his future self sent a message back to the scientist to get him into the basement to die so Finn would have access to the keys to escape. Wouldn’t that mean Finn is “ahead” of the scientist? If he never painted that painting, the scientist wouldn’t have died and Callie wouldn’t have found the time camera. A bit confused.

    • Although Jasper had already had an affair with Callie, he would have been unaware of the actual photos taken by the camera and so not recognized the photo as being a past photo of them together. Jasper would then have felt compelled to enact the scene depicted in that photo in order to lock in the predetermined future.

      Similarly, Finn also painted the spiral-green-thing (thorium gas canister) in his painting to ensure that the photo taken two weeks in the future remained consistent. He most likely wondered what would have happened if he omitted the thorium sign, meaning Mr. B never went to the basement, and never died. Finn may have contemplated whether that would have resulted in things returning back to normal, but in the end he decided the risk of not reproducing the photo was too high to take. As far as “Finn being ahead” of the scientist” – that’s quite “normal” for time travel related themes!

      • Thank you very much for this explanation and detailed replies, it made me realize that even if I think I understand the movie, I actually know nothing 🙂

        Now to my question: Out of all the photos Callie had, why did she change to the charade one? What did she want to achieve now that Finn is already fond of her?

  19. can somebody tell me what that thing was that ivan was threatening callie with?? That weird metal plate thing. My first thought was some kind of device for ripping up fingernails, and then I legitimately thought it was a kalimba. Now I have no clue at all.

    • Good question. Can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before, but seems like the idea is to force a hand/fingers onto those spikes, and it also looks like the contraption folds over for additional pain. Nasty business, indeed from the violent bookie, Ivan.

      • It was a mandolin. Used for slicing vegetables and fruit into thin, thick, or shoestring like chunks/discs. Works especially well for making evenly-cut sweet potato fries or just regular potato fries.

  20. Although it’s obviously unclear whether or not Callie was changing events, it appears as though all of the events fall on a linear timeline, which is always frustrating to me. The question of whether or not they could change anything was never actually answered in the film, and was instead replaced by fate (or chance). Even if someone with prior knowledge attempted to recreate a photo they received from the future, there’s an incredibly slim chance it would be exactly the same, and eventually there would be a noticeable difference. Instead, the photos are exactly the same (as far as we can tell), which can only described as fate (or incredible chance). Fate always seems like the easy answer in a time travel story. Because of this and the numerous obvious paradoxes, it was hard to take the film’s concept very seriously.

  21. The first picture they see jasper did not bet that day, he simply watched the races and recorded the results to put in the window. It seems the movie follows a multiple timeline theory in that the events happened once, and callie made the notes, thus all future timelines would be altered. Or there is one time line that is changed multiple times.

    Also just because none of the pictures didn’t change doesn’t mean the timeline didn’t. It is probable that once the photo is printed the PHOTO is set in stone, if something else changes the timeline the photo already printed will not change. So the photo from Mr. B, one week in the future shows his “death”, if someone changes the events the photo taken 24hrs would be different, but not change the other.

    The photo is a glimpse of the future at the point it was taken, it’s not from the future itself(think back to the future) so it wouldn’t change with the timeline.

  22. I’m confused in the end about the “Kiss Jasper too Long” photo. How is Callie standing in front of the 8pm painted picture? If the photos are only 24hours into the future and Finn only draws the clock picture past 8pm.

    • Hi Shoaib, Callie sent the ‘KISS JASPER TOO LONG’ photo at 8am, and not 8pm. She’d been using the 8am photo shoot to manipulate events to her own ends, and make Finn jealous.

      • So she sent the picture of “KISS JASPER TOO LONG” to change the FUTURE, not the past. That explains why she made the picture of the text at 8 a.m. and right at 8 p.m. she received a picture of her kissing Jasper. So she controlled the tomorrow’s day, not the past day

  23. What’s also interesting is the element of wish-fulfillment. When they found the machine, they asked the question… what would you want?

    Jasper: A pile of cash
    Finn: Painting inspiration
    Callie (speculated by Jasper): A ring from Finn

    All got what they wanted but to terrifying endings.

  24. bitches be crazy even more so when you let em mess with time i know one thing for sure i would have destroyed that shit right away ive watched enough sci fi movies to know not to mess with time great movie been a while since i was so stuck to the movie screen.

  25. There are three completely different ways of viewing the time travel mechanism in this movie.

    In the Jasper outlook, the photos are used to change the future. You receive information and then act on it, as to profit via insider gambling information. Then in the future you simply have to make sure you remember to send that same information back to yourself.

    In the Callie outlook, the photos are used to change the past. After a day happens, you send information backwards in time allowing you to change how that day went. (This explains her belief at the end that none of the day’s events will matter – as she will simply send herself a message allowing her to change those events.)

    In the Finn outlook, the photos don’t actually do anything; they are simply a self-fullfilling prophecy showing you what you were already going to do.

    Ultimately all three outlooks fall flat, of course. What is the truth? None of them make complete sense.

    • I was thinking, since regularly scheduled shots at 8am/8pm shoots that instant, sends the image 24h back in time, and at the same time spits out the image from 24h into the future, similar mechanism is at play – that is, since the camera was taking “bloody window” photo, which the old guy received (at least) 1 week ago, the photo that pops out in the final scene is that of (at least) 1 week or more in the future. I guessed blank means the machine was dismantled/destroyed soon after during criminal investigation. But then, it’s polaroid; these things take awhile for image to emerge. Guess we’ll never know what’s going to be on it.

      • Basically, there are three cycles of pictures. The first is the 8pm shots that show 24 hours ahead. The second is the 8am shots that Callie reveals at the end that also reveal 24 hours ahead. The third, which was hinted by Dr. Heidecker, is the 2 weeks ahead shots. Except Dr. Heidecker didn’t know or say it was a cycle so we, the movie viewers, and the main characters just took it as a one time thing. So the last picture taken at the end of the movie was not the 8am nor the 8pm shot. Callie was putting up the “Don’t get caught at the window” note in preparation for the 8pm shot. She thought she could change the original 8pm shot by taping it on the window (and I guess assuming the police would leave it up there since it would be considered evidence). What she didn’t know was that it would take another picture right after the note drops and she gets arrested. That is when we are supposed to realize or figure out that that is the time of when the “2 weeks ahead” photo cycle is taken. It is taken at that time every two weeks. This is why no one knew about it. The movie ends by showing another polaroid being printed but cuts away before it is developed. That is because it wouldn’t show a picture of what happened at that moment; it would show a picture of what the living room would look like 2 weeks from that moment which is not the important thing. The important thing is that there was a 2 week cycle of photos just like the 24 hr 8am and 8pm cycles and it happened to take its photos at the exact time.

    • I assume its as simple as changing a dial or switch. I guess Mr Bezzerides realized it was a bad idea seeing too far into the future and so reset the machine to it’s previous 8am/8pm settings.

  26. Pete, you appear to have a grasp on the time sequences….etc…Please explain how “Jasper” was initially able to determine or acquire the results of the races? That seems to be a major flaw particularly since the camera is only taking a picture of their apartment and they never leave the complex.

    • Hi Charles, Jasper was able to acquire the racing results by either watching TV or reading about them in the newspaper. He then stood in front of the camera with a board and sent the information back to himself the previous day.

      • Basically changing the original outcome of the previous day or from some theorists perspective “creating an alternate or new time-line.” The series “Fringe” handled this quite fascinatingly. Were you a fan?

        • I never got round to watching Fringe, although I heard it was a great series. I must have watched dozens of other shows and time travel movies in which an alternate or new time-line is created, including Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG), and All Good Things (TNG). In Time Lapse, as in many other movies dealing with time travel concepts, however, I think its possible the characters may either be creating a new time-line or universe with their actions, or alternatively simply rewriting the events of their own timeline over and over again.

      • unless there are two time lines, this won’t work.
        Jasper stands in front of the window with that days results. the camera is taking a picture of that day. it’s taking a picture of 24 hours into the future, and he isn’t standing there with any dog racing results that aren’t history by that time.

        • It doesn’t matter if he’s “standing there with any dog racing results that aren’t history by that time”. If you consider linear timeline, the first time Jasper gets hold of race results is the night before the race, when he receives the results from the future where future him sends the results back via time camera. Next day, he makes the bets, profits, then at 8PM posts the day’s results on the window (which he already knew the night before) and sends them back in time.

          Think of the information on race results(before the race actually takes place, hence, unknown) as Finn’s paintings. This holds as long as we can agree that there’s no way Jasper could alter the outcome of the race by knowing the results beforehand. They’re both information (i.e. something that doesn’t degrade with time), and they spring out from nowhere. Past you get it from future you(via time machine), who(future you) in turn got it from past you(by normal passage of time). It’s just another form of bootstrap paradox.

        • While the camera is taking a photo for the previous day, it is also releasing a photo for the next evening. Therefore, Jasper was sending today’s racing results to himself yesterday, while his tomorrow self was sending the information to himself today.

  27. I’ve been seeking mind-bending movies for a while now, and this movie is just PERFECT. After watching Predestination I thought that nothing could be better, but I’m seriously reconsiderig that now… I mean the plot work is absolutely stunning ! Thanks for the review 🙂

  28. I know this is 2 months old, but I just watched this gem. I wonder if the writer had ever seen Nolan’s Memento because it reminded me a little of it. Anyway, something you said is confusing me. When you talk about Callie being incorrect about her last warning note (before she is arrested) changing everything, I would think you would only be right if the photo spit out at the end (which we didn’t get to see) showed a different scene. That is, if the picture actually includes Callie’s warning to her self then she did not alter the future away from the photos. Consequently, I am also confused how we can infer that because Dr. Bez’s “death” photo was not changed, then Callie’s warning did not stick. If the last photo spit out at the end matches with Callie’s warning note, then the only thing that would change would be that Callie and her boyfriend escape. That is, any photo that is spit out at 8pm (after the 8am spit out that we didn’t see) would be whatever it is and would have no effect on prior photos (including Dr. Bez’s). I am sure I am probably mixed-up somewhere, but those two comments of yours struck me as odd. Great job on the write up by the way.

    • I totally agree with you since the day before Callie didn’t get Dr Bez death photo but instead her own. But that scene did play out but she should’ve gotten it the day before and it should’ve been that day’s 8am photo. So if that note did stay up the whole ending would’ve changed with her and Finn getting away and the crime scene photo still existing. That would’ve been an excellent ending instead

      • i disagree i liked that ending she was cheating on him the whole time she can rot in jail and think about what her actions caused. i was upset that the only character with the sense to destroy it was killed tho he deserved to live.

    • Hi Z4, in my opinion it wouldn’t have mattered if she stuck a sign up or not stating ‘DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW’, as the photo had already been created without a sign for that date. As was mentioned, you cannot mess with time, except at the end of the movie Callie started to believe she could, and tried to change the photo Mr Bezzerides had sent Heidecker before his death.

    • These are some interesting points but I think you misinterpreted a few things. Here’s the timeline as I saw it in the movie.

      I think the confusion lies with the time that is represented by the photo that Mr Bezzerides’s got at the beginning of the movie that he thought depicted his death (i.e. the photo with the blood splatter, the coil painting, and his hat WITHOUT THE POLICE TAPE). When Dr. Heidecker is introduced and shows the audience this photo she tells Finn and Jasper that it’s from the next day. As the audience, we are bound by the 2 photo a day narrative (i.e. 8am and 8pm) that we get from the characters and assume that this photo represents the 8pm photo from the next day. However, Mr Bezzerides figured out how to modify the machine to take a photo AT ANY TIME in the future (not being confined to the 8am/pm construct). Thus, this photo represents some time between the 8am photo that Cassie sent back to herself saying to SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT & KILL JASPER TO SAVE FINN and the photo from the previous night that predicted the same scene (i.e. the photo with the blood splatter, the coil painting) only WITH THE POLICE TAPE this time. This fits with the narrative of the movie because after she sends the 8am photo back to herself the previous day she kills Finn (creating the blood splatter on the Dr.’s photo). Also, Cassies note to NOT GET CAUGHT BY THE WINDOW is missing from the photo that represented that days 8pm events (i.e. the one she switched out with the charade night sex photo the previous night). This fits with the end of the movie where it fell off as she was being escorted away by Big Joe. Thus, that night’s scene would be what was predicted in the previous nights photo.

      As for the last photo at the end of the movie that we don’t see developed, well this is irrelevant to the plot that involves the characters in the movie. The story revolves around the audience (and the characters) seeing into the future to predict the events that come between then and the present. However, the story that we are introduced to has come full circle and I think it’s meant to represent a return of the audience to uncertainty about what the future has to offer.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Thanks for this, helps clear it up a little. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with time travel movies. They keep me thinking about them way too long after and there are always paradoxes you can’t ever explain.

    • Glad you enjoyed this brilliant little mind-bender of a movie, which was certainly well written and suspenseful enough to one day be considered a candidate for cult status. Like you say, the best sci-fi films dealing with time travel can be challenging to say the least, and are invariably jam packed with untold paradoxes deliberately intended to confuse the viewer, and leave them pondering a host of unanswered questions. Nevertheless, few other genres capture the imagination like a good time travel yarn, and their knotty, twisted plots can be extremely fun to watch and thoroughly entertaining in a very novel way.

      • Time travel is one of my favorite genres, and this movie was surprisingly great with such a simple premise that turns very complicated. I wasn’t totally sold on it until the very end, but what a twist! Makes you second guess the entire movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.