“Needle in a Timestack” is a science fiction love story, written and directed by John Ridley. It’s based on the short story of the same name by Robert Silverberg. Needle in a Timestack was released on October 15, 2021, by Lionsgate. The film focuses on a marriage that is challenged when a time traveler goes back in time and attempts to change the circumstances of their lives.
Since I have a real passion for science fiction, I thought Needle in a Timestack sounded intriguing, plus it features a stellar cast. The movie was a little slow but the story was mysterious, passionate, and thought provolking.
In the future, under government control and with enough money, people are allowed to time-travel. There are rules but if a rule is broken it’s considered a crime, however, it’s almost impossible to prove. Needle in a Timestack opens with a married couple who are obviously very much in love. However, there’s a rich x-husband who wants his wife back, so he makes several attempts at jaunting time to get her back. A worried, husband consults his wife who aappears not to be concerned and tells him it’s under control, dispite them knowing about her x-husband’s attempts at changing the time line.
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The movie covers three stories of romantic love in linear trajectories, beginning with Nick (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Janine Mikkelsen (Cynthia Erivo}. In the Nick and Janine romantic love trajectory, Nick falls in love with and marries Janine, after Janine was married to and divorced from their mutual good friend Tommy Hambleton (Orlando Bloom).
In the Nick and Alex Leslie (Freida Pinto) love trajectory, Tommy time jaunts from the present where Nick and Janine are married to fix the past mistake that allowed his marriage to Janine to fall apart. The time jaunt is successful, although it was a time crime, and now in the revised present, Tommy is married to Janine, and Nick is married to Alex. Nick figures out that his timeline has been tampered with. As Nick’s memories disappear, he must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in order to hold onto – or let go of – everything he loves.
Nick decides to time jaunt in an effort to make things right. When he comes back to the present, we go into his third romantic love linear trajectory, Nick struggles with loneliness and is neither married to Janine nor Alex after going back to the past and persuading Alex that Tommy is the right person for her. In the last minutes of the film, Nick sees Janine (who is a photographer taking pictures) at a party Tommy convinced him to attend. Their eyes meet as feelings begin to surface their faces express that they know there is something between them. If love is in the form of a circle, what lines would you cross to be with your soulmate?
Nick had a sister Zoe Mikkelsen (Jadyn Wong) who tried to help him through depression to no avail. Time travel is never really explained or how it works or how people have come to accept their lives regularly being altered by anyone with enough money to mess with their past. Crime would be rampant. The question that sticks out in my mind is how can people hold on to memories if they can be changed and if they don’t remember each other? I believe time travel is the one thing that will never happen. It goes against the grain of life and would make for a disasterous outcome. Needle in a Timestack was interesting but the ending although promising was not really closure. I wish they had gone into a little bit more as to make the film more satisfying. Needle in a Timestack is a Prime Time Original and is streaming on Amazon prime — Check It Out!