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Speed of Life

By Bradley Gibson | January 9, 2020

The death of David Bowie was a shock in 2016, unexpected, and for a star so beloved, indescribably upsetting for his fans. Writer/director Liz Manashil imagines a world so fractured by his death that the fabric of spacetime is torn, opening a rip that spans 24 years. The dramatic concept is something Bowie would no doubt approve and could have written music about. 

In Manashil’s film Speed of Life (titled after Bowie’s opening instrumental track for his 1977 album Low), June (Allison Tolman) and her boyfriend Edward (Ray Santiago) are in the middle of an argument when he slips into the time warp in their living room and disappears. Somehow life goes on, and 24 years after he vanished, Edward steps right back into that exact spot in the living room, with no time has passed for him. 

“The death of David Bowie was a shock in 2016, unexpected, and for a star so beloved, indescribably upsetting for his fans…”

The world he finds in 2040 has changed for the worse. Alexa, for one thing, has gotten way out of hand, and June at almost age 60 (now played by Ann Dowd) has become cynical and bitter about life. The rules of aging are oppressive now: anyone over 60 is required to move to a government home with the other oldsters, locked away from younger society. June and her friend, played by Jeff Perry, are planning to evade mandatory assisted living and go on the lam.

June’s calm and quiet strains believability. She has somehow not been driven mad by having seen a whole person vanish from her sitting room over two decades ago, though she is obsessed with his disappearance. Also, apparently, Edward was a person of so little consequence that no one came looking for him under her floorboards. What she has done is stop believing in people, and her life has turned dark and dull. This is a direction she was already headed as a young woman. Her dissatisfaction with Edward was the topic of their argument when he disappeared. She was morose and intense. He was light and flippant. They were not well suited together. 

Speed of Life (2020)

Directed and Written: Liz Manashil

Starring: Ray Santiago, Ann Dowd, Kimball Farley, Laura Holliday, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

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"…a world so fractured by Bowie's death that the fabric of spacetime is torn..."

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