DVD Review - Ticking Clock

From the NetFlix description or plot summary, I was led to believe that this movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr was going to be a murder mystery thriller in the vein of Murder of Crows. The first third is quite similar but the rest of the movie goes in a different direction.
Spoiler alert! The movie ends up being more like Triangle or the Spanish film Timecrimes. It's a movie about time travel, an aspect that's meant to be a surprise, but, in order to review, analyze and ultimately criticize, I have to spoil that.
Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr plays Lewis Hicks, a journalist who is investigating the murder of a woman with whom he was friends. Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives and Boomtown) plays James Keech, the elusive killer who manages to stay a step ahead of everyone. Spoiler alert again! The reason McDonough is able to stay ahead is because he's a time traveler.
The relationship that develops between Gooding and McDonough is actually very interesting and I would recommend the movie on that basis alone. Unfortunately, writer John Turman muddles the time travel stuff. This bothers me because when it comes to time travel scenarios, there are only two schools of thought and never the twain shall meet.
One school of thought is predestination that takes for granted the grandfather paradox that basically says even if someone could travel backward in time, he still couldn't change anything that happened. The other school of thought is the idea of alternate realities or quantum universes that was illustrated best in Back to the Future II. The best movies and TV shows have been those that utilize one school of thought or the other.
Ticking Clock fails because in the end it wants to utilize both at the same time. It's confusing and quite frankly a cheat. The film doesn't establish any rules about the sci-fi elements, and any rules you assume, it breaks. Gooding and McDonough, nevertheless, give good performances as they typically do, and everything is compelling up until the end.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated R for blood violence, grisly images and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.


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