This review was originally posted on News Cult in June 2017.

Starring: Michiel Huisman, Teresa Palmer, Sam Reid

Director: Paul Currie

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Stray Bullets and Falling Chandeliers

Release Date: June 30, 2017 (Limited)

What if you noticed a pattern of ominous occurrences happening at the same time every day? Would you conclude that you were going insane, or that you were the star of a movie with a nonsensical screenplay? Is there a difference? The makers of 2:22 would like you to think so. The trouble is, they do not seem to realize how ridiculous their film is. It is bad enough when stories about the patterns that secretly dictate our lives are silly when they mean to be profound, but 2:22 makes it a trifecta by adding inscrutable and boring to the mix.

The first half hour or so is at least agreeably intriguing. Dylan (Michiel Huisman) is an air traffic controller who prides himself on getting his landings and takeoffs right by fastidiously sticking to his routines. But when a random lapse in focus nearly leads him to cause a crash between a departing and an arriving plane, he ends up suspended from his job. He uses the resulting free time to investigate an inexplicable pattern of events happening in the same order every day, always culminating at Grand Central Station at 2:22 PM. One would assume that the near-crash is a prologue that provides vital info relevant to the 2:22 business, but as far as I can tell, they have nothing to do with each other.

Dylan also strikes up a romance with art gallery worker Sarah (Teresa Palmer), one of the passengers in the near-crash. When she discovers his part in her almost dying, she brushes it off and declares that he in fact saved her, a turn that is maddening, but Palmer’s immense charm makes it (barely) palatable.

2:22 throttles towards attempting to provide some sort of concrete explanation for the pattern and why only Dylan recognizes it. Sarah’s ex-boyfriend Jonas (Sam Reid) debuts a virtual reality art exhibit set in Grand Central, leading Dylan to suspect that he is the one behind these strange occurrences, toying with him in some sort of jealous lover’s quarrel. Physically, that appears impossible, but Jonas’ motivations suggest otherwise. That explanation would be the formula for a cheap emotional thriller, which could easily be overly manipulative but at least potentially understandable.

Instead, the ultimate reveal is some mumbo-jumbo about a metaphysical time loop, wherein Dylan, Sarah, and Jonas are repeating an event that happened decades ago with different people, and/or they are resurrected versions of those people, or they are those people but stuck in limbo, or maybe every generation is doomed to repeat this same disaster. Something something something, be careful about being too committed to your routines?

2:22 is Recommended If You Like: Paranoid Schizophrenia, Endless Theorizing About Everything

Grade: 1.5 out of 5 Algorithms