"A Day" coming to cinemas.
Time loops may be a cliché when it comes to movies related with time, but they are still a fascinating premise that can be used from thrilling to emotional effect.
Often when we see characters find themselves trapped in a cycle of undesirable events, it becomes a primer for them to look deep into themselves to find a way to escape. Along the way, they might go through a transformation for better or worse for the people around them.
With Chang's "Reset" from China and Jo Seon-ho's "A Day" from South Korea coming out this month using the time loop trope, we think it's about time to go back and get ourselves caught up with the movies that share the same tropes, and relive those moments of great time loop movies.
Before I Fall (2017)
A more recent example of the time loop trope still being popular is this year's adaptation of "Before I Fall". Sam is a part of the cool clique in highschool and as she celebrates her step-up to womanhood, she and her friends are killed in a car accident, only for her to wake up on the morning before the accident. Frustrated at first but then gradually taking a deeper look at her actions and the consequences that keeps her within the time-loop, she eventually learns to let go of her pretentious privileges and accepts her fate in order to escape.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Based on a Japanese manga, "Edge of Tomorrow" (or its American title "Live Die Repeat") puts an interesting twist to the time-loop trope of being set in a battlefield, and our main protagonist is a soldier who is brought back to a certain point in time every time he is killed. While the change brought on his character from a coward to killing machine is some of the best use of the time loop ability (with some cathartic ends in between), this is made even more interesting when he finds out that he is not alone in experiencing this time loop, and there is an actual explanation to his powers to drive the plot.
Source Code (2011)
Entrusted to find a terrorist before he sets off a bomb on a train, Captain Colter Stevens is put into the Source Code, a machine that lets him relive the last few minutes before the bomb is set to explode until he is able to apprehend the suspect. While on the surface Duncan Jones' take on the time-loop premise sounds like an intriguing thriller for audiences to piece together the whodunit, but is also contains several emotional layers of character study. A considerable feat considering that all these has to be explored with only minutes for each loop, and this is all well delivered by the performance of Jake Gyllenhaal, who not only juggles the investigation aspect for the main plot, but also having profound moments when he finally works up the courage to call his estranged father.
Run Lola Run (1998)
Not all time-loops have to be experienced by the character. Other times it can be experienced by the audience who is watching the same events unfold from multiple angles, or sometimes seeing alternatives to the same sequence of events. This is done in "Run Lola Run", which has different endings for the titular character to deliver a ransom before her boyfriend is killed by the mob, but each run does not end by bringing the character back to any starting point. Instead, we are the ones being transported back and watching things unfold again, as though we had just stepped through an alternative timeline, and keeps us watching until we reach the perfect ending.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Finally we come to the one that started it all; the grandfather of what gave the time-loop trope its start. While "Groundhog Day" is by far not the first to have the idea of someone experiencing a never-ending time loop, its popularity has made it the go-to when measuring the success of all time-loop movies that come after it. Bill Murray's sourpuss weatherman, who is made to cover the titular festivities of a small town, finds no meaning in life after finding himself stuck in a time loop. As days go by until he is drowning in despair, he finally sees the positive side of having unlimited tries in life, and goes through a transformation for the better to shake off his negative personality.
Cinema Online, 11 July 2017