I’ll Follow You Down, which has been renamed under the more generic title Continuum for its UK DVD release, offers an interesting realistic take on a very popular sci-fi theme.
After a seemingly normal business trip, Gabe, a theoretical physicist, disappears, leaving his wife Marika, his son Erol and his father in law Sal to cope with the event. 12 years later, each member of the family is dealing with the loss differently; Marika with psychiatrists and medication, Erol by pretending that his father is dead and Sal by secretly pursuing Gabe’s scientific research...
The movie is released by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment in the UK and is basically marketed by the distributor as a simple sci-fi movie (and a cheap one as well, judging by the trailers on the disc: The Last Invasion, a cheap alien invasion movie (also retitled several times...) and Beyond, an equally cheap sci-fi movie with an even more generic name...). Don’t be mistaken, Continuum does not have a big budget but it is in no way a sci-fi B-movie and it would be unfair to put it in the same category than the other two.
I personally think that it is a shame that the title has been changed for its UK release; first it makes it too obvious what the movie is about (which was most likely not the director’s will when he called it I’ll Follow You Down!), second, it confuses it (voluntarily or not) with the Canadian TV series of the same name which deals with a similar argument but in a more trivial manner. However, the themes encompassed by the movie are far from being trivial: the inevitability of life, the loss of someone dear, etc. Several weighty themes which, although maybe not treated as well as they could have been, make the movie quite compelling and push the audience to question itself about what they would do in a similar situation.
The movie also benefits from a very interesting cast. Personally, I have always been a massive fan of Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson and I think that they give very strong and touching performances as Gabe and Marika; they bring the movie the adequate gravitas required to deal with the profound themes addressed by the director. But the star here is really Haley Joel Osment, who is quietly operating a comeback in cinema (Kevin Smith’s upcoming Tusk (at least for the UK) and Yoga Hosers, and Max (son of John) Landis’ upcoming Me Him Her) and television (The Amazon produced political satire Alpha House) since his famous turns in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) and Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and after deserting the screens for pretty much the entirety of the 2000s first decade. In the role of Erol, he gives an interesting performance which becomes more palatable as the movie progresses (I personally struggled a little bit, at the beginning of the movie, to imagine him as Gillian Anderson’ son and believe in their relationship...). The role needed a young actor with an apparent vulnerability but who could also be believable as young genius and, in that sense, his performance is at least satisfying for me. Also to note, a good performance from famous Canadian actor Victor Garber as Erol’s grandfather.
I would like also to mention the impressive work done by Canadian director, Richie Metha (of whom it is the second feature length movie after directing the Hindi speaking drama Amal in 2007 and who has since followed up Continuum with another Hindi speaking movie: Siddarth) and his crew to make the movie look so good (Tico Poulakakis’ photography in particular is perfectly in tune with the various events, and associated emotions, occurring throughout the movie) and sound so good (Andrew Lockington’s score brings a fine balance of melancholy and mystery without overpowering the movie). I think it is difficult to make a sci-fi movie looks believable without a comfortable budget and it is a testament to their craft to acknowledge that at no point the movie looks cheap (especially in its third act).
Just a quick word on the disc itself before closing this review. The movie is presented here in what seems to be its original ratio (but I haven't had the opportunity to verify as it is not mention anywhere) and there are 2 audio tracks available: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 (with no subtitles). The only bonus is the trailer for the movie which I advise viewers not to watch before as it reveals some key elements of the plot.
To summarise, although Continuum is not an entirely satisfying movie, it is an extremely enjoyable one and it features numerous qualities, including a very interesting third act, which makes it a very worthwhile watch.