I think most would agree that science-fiction is much more about the human condition than it is about all that science-fictiony stuff. Rob Cousineau, Joshua P. Cousineau, and Chris Rosik’s Future offers a very human take on the old time-traveler tale.
Doug (Joshua P. Cousineau) is a loner working a loser job as a barista, living with his parents, and in a relationship with a girlfriend who’s cheating on him. He doesn’t know it, but in a few days, Doug will take his life. Doug’s plans are thwarted when a band of time travelers visits him in the middle of the night.
The leader from the future, known as the Time Traveler (Phreddy Wischusen), shows Doug his completed diary with the suicide entry. The traveler decided to go back in time and give Doug a chance to repair his life. All Doug has to do is kill someone in three days. If he does that, the traveler will go back further in time and send off the college application that Doug was too afraid of doing himself. Are you lost? Unimportant!
Meanwhile, for the next three days, the traveler encourages Doug to live his like life it is about to end… which it is. With the encouragement of the traveler, Doug decides to do exciting things like sleep, hang out with Kyle, eat fried chicken, and maybe fulfill a life goal of some sort.
“…a band of time travelers visits him in the middle of the night.”
The fascinating part of Future is that it’s not necessarily about Doug being sent to kill a future bad guy, though that is a part of the story. It’s more about the relationship between Doug and the Time Traveler. Doug is the guy who has wasted his life to this point. The Time Traveler, on the other hand, has schemed his way with many other saps, like Doug, and gets off on being there for the final days of someone’s life. He promotes falling into hedonistic desires and goes along with it. It’s this conflicting relationship that makes the story of Future so clever and different. This genre is in desperate need of both of those elements.
This relationship hinges on the performances of Cousineau and Wischusen. The two are designed to be opposites, and the two actors know how to play them. Cousineau brings the right level of low energy to his performance—just enough to still be enjoyable. Wischusen reminds me a lot of David Cross, being the guy who wants the best for Doug, but only because it breaks up the boredom in his life. Saving the future seems to be an afterthought to him.
Lastly, Future has this indie vibe that simply works for sci-fi. There are no special effects for the Time Traveler and his gang of faceless henchmen. They say they are time travelers, and somehow we believe them with very little proof. The production values of the film consist of dudes hanging out in a van and a house. Its low-budget charm is endearing.
The cool thing about Future is just how it subverts the genre altogether. The set-up feels like a thriller, but the payoff is a heartfelt buddy comedy, designed to generate some good feelings and hope for humanity, and then subvert all that once again in the end. The film is not what you’d expect, which is precisely the reason why you should watch Future.
"…has this indie vibe that simply works for sci-fi."