Time travel and parallel universes always pose a significant threat when it comes to literature, especially scripts for film. There's so much we can do with the moving picture, but so many ways to also mess it up. Now, when you mix parallel universes, alternate dimensions, and time travel into one bag - there's bound to be someone somewhere going, "Huh?" and scratching their head. Unless simplified, only die-hard fans of such fiction can keep up, or quantum physicists. Take some of our most beloved time traveling movies such as, "Back To The Future" and really analyze what you've watched. It's all been pretty dumbed down and put together in a way most everyone can follow. It doesn't matter if it all really doesn't make sense when broken down and thought about... this is entertainment - not required reading/viewing for a doctorate.
This takes us to Deepanshu Singh's film "Wicked Trails" in all its glory. I mean... there's so much good stuff here. So many great shots, set pieces, and even overall atmosphere. There are times watching this film that are simply inspiring! No question about that, none at all.
The backing concept here is a man looking for his dead daughter, in an alternate reality. For those who remember, the television show "Sliders" seems the easiest way to describe this piece conceptually. He slides from one reality to the next, and if that weren't enough, there's a time difference in each parallel universe - essentially time travel. If you're thinking of a PG-13 kind of time traveling dude, you'd be wrong. Our star, Hahn, doesn't just casually jump around from dimension to dimension, he kills people in order to help achieve his goal, and get to his daughter that actually isn't even his. Those who enjoyed the no-nonsense, no toned-down film, "Primer" may get a lot more here than I did. But man, this flick can be hard to follow and yes reader, it is a lot longer than it probably should have been.
I really want to go out and applaud the camera work and general visuals of this film. "Wicked Trails" looks really damn good visually. I don't just mean the cinematography by itself, I mean the framing, colors, and overall atmospheric feeling. It's really great - and the opening sequence will surely draw in more than a few viewers. Slightly after that however, is where things start to go a little awry.
I totally understand the drive to make a feature-length movie instead of a short film. Sometimes however, you simply have to cut back come what may. "Wicked Trails" without a doubt, could have been done in half the time. That's literally half an hour cut out of the film, and still, the story would have been intact - hell, much slicker, meaner, and polished. The old saying, if it doesn't move the story forward, cut it - should definitely have been applied here. I tend to believe that had this film been trimmed down, a solid four stars would have been easily achieved. Leaving only the good, and trimming away the excesses that make this film hard to follow along with.
Another thing worth mentioning, that normally I wouldn't bring up, was the fact that this film is in English, but also has hardcoded subtitles. Making things even weirder? The subtitles don't always sync up to what's happening onscreen. Very strange.
At the end of the day, this film is much longer than it should have been. All the extra filler has contributed to a hard to follow story, in a genre that can be hard to follow to start with. The lag I felt as this movie finished could have been averted, simply by taking out what wasn't absolutely needed. With that said, "Wicked Trails" is not a bad film, and when it gets good... it's really good! The casual viewer may not make it through, but those who love the genre should definitely find something decent here to fill their time. Two and a half stars.