One Minute/Sixty Seconds (2016) – By Philip Smolen


Danielle (Katharina Daue) is searching for her brother whom she hasn’t seen in several months. She visits his apartment but can’t find any clues. She then starts canvassing the area and stops in to a few local watering holes to see if he’s been there. At one bar she meets Theo (Steve McCallister) who had been hanging out with her brother recently. Theo tries to help Danielle, so he brings her around to a number of people who he knew including Walt (Ed Ericsson), an odd sort of person who’s building a strange device. Danielle also meets Alana (Darlene Coleman) a bookshop owner who espouses strange theories about the lost continent of Atlantis. Danielle doesn’t believe in some of the strange theories that Theo, Walt and Alana do, however, as she begins to dig deeper, she slowly begins to realize that there’s an element of truth to what they are telling her.

“One Minute/60 Seconds” is the first full length feature film from writer/director Mark Zampella (“The Half Twin”, “Singer”) and it’s an existential fantasy about Danielle’s acceptance of an alternate universe. When she initially starts to question everyone, Danielle is a realist who doesn’t believe in any of the bizarre theories espoused by Theo, Walt, Jim (Michael Miller) and Alana. It’s only when the truths she has believed in all of her life fail to help her find her brother, does she begin to seriously consider alternative reality theories as a way of locating him.

Zampella starts with a solid premise but then slows the film’s pace down to a crawl with scene after scene of exposition as Theo and his friends argue about alternative scientific theories such as that the earth is flat and that there is no gravity. It takes almost a full hour before Danielle finds a clue that puts her on her brother’s trail. By this point the film has become disjointed and uninteresting.

Another problem is that the character of Danielle’s brother is totally uninteresting. We’re told very little about their relationship and why it’s so important for Danielle to find him. This lack of urgency further slackens the film’s pace and hurts its dramatic impact.

I must admit that I did enjoy the antics of Theo, Walt and Jim as they discussed various different theories. They reminded me a lot of The Lone Gunmen from the old “X-Files” TV show. However, the group should have been presented more like the Three Musketeers with an all-for-one and one-for-all mantra. All they do is talk, which is a letdown.

“One Minute/60 Seconds” wants to say something important about our perception of reality, but it tells its story in a rambling and dull manner. I believe that this would have made a fine 30 minute short film, but in its current form it loses its drives shortly after it begins.

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