[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following review on the July 14, 2017 DVD release of the thinking person's sci-fi thriller "Displacement" is an update of the review of the April 2017 theatrical release of the film.]
The DVD release of the time-travel thriller "Displacement" fills the void left by the absence of cerebral "what if" fare at the cineplex.
The festival adoration for this clear labor of love by writer/director Kenneth Mader includes the Best SciFi Film awards at the 2016 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles and the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival. These awards (and the other hardware on the mantel at Chez Mader) reflect Mader making the list of "Top 100 Indie Filmmakers in the World."
Aptly future cult film status will put "Displacement" in the ranks of the '80s time-travel cult classic "The Philadelphia Experiment," which earns a subtle nod in the film. The likability of physics scholar Cassie makes the audience root for the leap after the one that finally puts right what once went wrong to be the leap home for her.
The following YouTube clip of the "Displacement" trailer provides a good primer on the film and achieves its goal of making you want to see more.
Opening scenes with intrepid "bold and beautiful" physics whiz Cassie Sinclair (Courtney Hope) waking in a tub full of ice with her kidneys intact but not the same being so regarding the intestines of her boyfriend who no longer is living the life of Brian only to soon shift in time sets a pace that Mader maintains throughout the film.
As is the case in good time-travel films that do not insult Asimov fans, understanding the science behind this fiction requires moderate concentration; keeping track of the altered events also necessitates focusing on the larger screen in front you, rather than the small one in your hand. The DVD release including an extended scene in which Cassie explains the governing principles as if the viewer is an 18 year-old is very helpful.
Making a movie that you actually must watch (and enjoy doing so) is a very good thing in this era in which most big-budget films consist of action sequences stapled together with short periods of discourse.
The true genesis of the action is the mother of Cassie dying of cancer; this prompts our 21st century Nancy Drew to develop a means of time travel so that she can see Mom before she passes. The rub is that this effort creates numerous other problems that extend well beyond any butterfly effect of this effort.
The new challenges that Cassie literally creates for herself include preventing the aforementioned death of her aforementioned boyfriend/possible research thief, dealing with personal/professional Daddy issues with her physicist father, evading others who either want to improperly profit from her work or altruistically prevent it from wreaking additional havoc, and avoiding a "Timecop" style meltdown from coming too close to alternate versions of herself. This demonstrates that taking quantum leaps to put right what once went wrong is more complex than it seems.
Sarah Douglas, who will always be known as Kryptonian villain Ursa from the Christopher Reeve "Superman" films, shines as "X Files" style Dr Miles. Miles shows great menace in her style of imprisoning and interrogating Cassie for either the aforementioned noble or nefarious purposes. Frustration related to dealing with multiple Cassies greatly enhances an already memorable performance. Another extended DVD scene of an interrogation is some of the best work of Douglas in the film.
One spoiler is that Cassie does not have sex with her grandfather, thus becoming her own grandmother.
The final analysis is that "Displacement' ain't a a Zack Snyder attempt at a darker and edgier "Back to the Future." Mader clearly knows (and loves) his stuff. His making us think and showing that Father Time can be as much of a bitch as Mother Nature proves that intelligent life still exists in Hollywood. This alone makes buying the DVD worthwhile in order to hear the audio commentary by Mader.
Other DVD bonus scenes include time-traveling Cassie and a related perceived threat freaking out Brian at his literal day job and more footage of a hotel scene that is pivotal to the film. All the deleted and bonus scenes scream for telling Mader that we gladly would have sat in our theater seats another 15 minutes to watch them. How about a director's cut, Kenneth?
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Displacement" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,