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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
I Love a Mystery
by Betty Jo Tucker

Give me a book or a movie with an involving mystery and I'm hooked right away. That’s probably why the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the writings of Ruth Rendell fascinate me so much. No wonder Very_little_time, an independent film by brothers Todd and Tim Wynn, drew me in as soon as the movie’s main character discovered a mysterious locked box. Just like Ryan Telnifer, I felt an overwhelming curiosity to find out what’s inside the box and why strange things happen to him after it’s opened.

Ryan, played by the Wynns (who are not twins!), thinks he’s found the perfect job as a product tester. He can work at home on his own time with no one to bother him. He writes reports about the items he’s testing and doesn’t seem to mind how many pieces of toast he’s required to make or the number of staples he must punch. But never in his wildest dreams could he imagine how his life would be altered after deciding to open an old tool box. Even though an anonymous e-mail warns him, “Do not open the box,” Ryan can’t resist the temptation -- and a bizarre time-travel adventure begins. 

Although Very_little_time involves a sci-fi puzzle, the movie oozes with you-are-there realism -- an ordinary house, an average guy, normal sounds and so forth. Even the lovely classical background music fails to disturb the feeling that everything on screen is genuine.

The most amazing thing about this unique movie is that it exists at all. With no budget or studio behind them, the Wynns did everything themselves -- writing, editing, sound effects, music mixing and cinematography (with a home camera and common household lights). They’re even selling the DVD  on their own website. “Very_little_time was not supposed to exist as a movie,” these first-time filmmakers admit. “It was supposed to be a way for us to answer the questions we had about movie making. In short, it was just supposed to be practice, and nobody was supposed to see it except ourselves.”

While the film’s narration may be hard to understand in some spots and the story a bit too repetitive (like Groundhog Day), Very_little_time should appeal to many mystery and sci-fi fans. Granted, it’s not a slick production, but that’s part of its charm. I predict we’ll be seeing more from the talented Wynn brothers in the future.

(Released by Pretend Pictures; not rated by MPAA. For more information, go to the Very_little_time website.) 

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