Gabe (Rufus Sewell) is a physicist who one day leaves his wife and child to go to a university that his father-in-law works at in order to conduct an experiment in a quiet location where he won’t be disturbed. He never returned.
Unable to find him and assuming he was dead, his wife Marika (Gillian Anderson) went through years of severe depression while trying to raise their son Erol, who grew up to be an incredible genius, just as his father had been.
When Marika’s father Sal (Victor Garber) discovers that Gabe was really working on a project to create a stable wormhole that he could use to travel back in time, and he starts going through the equipment they recovered from where he’d been working, he theorizes that Gabe went back into the past and got stuck there, and that everything that’s happened in their current time line wasn’t supposed to be the way it is at all. In an effort to change things back to the way they should have been, he enlists the help of his grandson Erol (Haley Joel Osment) to complete the equations so they can re-create his father’s experiment and bring him back home.
I wanted to like this movie, I really did, but about the best I can say after seeing it is that I didn’t hate it. In fact, looking back on it now, I’m rather indifferent to the whole experience. Why though? Why would a movie with such a potential for greatness fall so flat?
To answer that question, I think we can start with the characters and how they were written. The dialogue between them ranged from flat to annoying to uninteresting to completely unrealistic. The only emotional parts of the film that really worked were those that involved Gillian Anderson, and even then Haley Joel Osment more often than not wasn’t really playing off of her in a way that brought out the full potential of the scenes.
Rufus Sewell, in every scene he was in sounded absolutely rehearsed. There was nothing overly natural about his performance and his interactions with Haley Joel Osment especially felt more like something out of a stage play than a naturally occurring conversation.
Even the interaction between Haley Joel Osment and his girlfriend in the film played by Susanna Fournier felt forced and unrealistic to some degree. They were supposed to be deeply in love and on the verge of starting a family together, but there was something between the two that just wasn’t working for me.
The one person in the film who really nailed their part was Gillian Anderson. She put in an excellent performance as the depressed mother who was simply trying to exist day to day after the loss of her husband. She’s always been a great actress, but in this film especially she did an excellent job in bringing the emotions out of her character.
As for the sci-fi element of the film in which they re-create the wormhole experiment, that part was somewhat interesting, although ultimately a let down because they couldn’t even bother creating a nice effect for it. All they did was shine some bright lights into the booth he was sitting in and shake it around a bit, and then boom…he was back in time. Hell, he didn’t even get to do it in a DeLorean at 88 miles per hour. It was just some booth that looked vaguely reminiscent of the Wonkavator from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I guess they spent too much of the budget on bigger name actors to afford any decent special effects.
To top it all off, once he goes back in time, he finds his father and explains everything to him, even going so far as to pull out an iPad (if he was such a genius he should have had an Android tablet) so he can show his father everything that happened in the altered time line after he left. The father doesn’t seem the least bit interested in this awesome piece of modern technology that his son was showing him. In fact, it didn’t even phase him at all really. But that’s not even the worst of it. His son tells him everything, but not until after he purposely meets up with him in a cafe and has this incredibly boring conversation with him first where he pretends that he’s just some random guy asking him about his family. It made very little sense and only served to drag the story out longer than was necessary.
For special features, this new release from Well Go USA includes a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes and the film’s trailer.
In the end, as with any film, it all comes down to one thing. Was it worth watching or was it a waste of time? In this case, I’d say it’s worth watching once, but not more than that. It’s all right for when you don’t have anything else you particularly feel like watching, but I can’t see it being on the top of anyone’s, “I need to watch that again” list.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here: http://www.wellgousa.com/ill-follow-you-down