Short of the Day: ‘The Constant’ Embraces Minimalism, Theory, and Time-Travel

A cerebral, successful short.
By  · Published on May 25th, 2017

A cerebral, successful short.

It’s not the best form to start a film review by mentioning a different film from the one being reviewed, but I mean the following as the highest possible compliment.

What I loved most about Shane Carruth’s Primer was how it took science out of the lab, or at least the lab as we think about it. There was no multi-million-dollar equipment, no corporate or university backing, no pristine white environment or dust-free enclosures, it was just two guys with a theory and know-how in their garage altering the fabric of the universe. Context like that makes the unimaginably-epic familiarly-intimate, it thoughtfully reduces magnanimous ideas to a scale most all of us can identify with even if we can’t understand the science behind it all.

The Constant from director Ben Tedesco does the same thing, it takes a large-scale idea about time-travel science and minimalises it in the best way to an intimate discussion between three colleagues in a garage, which in turn replaces the dry academia such scenarios usually involve with youthful enthusiasm and intellectual desperation, which are far more interesting. The emphasis here is on theory, which lends itself to some fascinating dialogue and conjures a world much bigger than the physical space of the film. And like all good sci-fi, there’s that “should we?” current floating through the science, and a twist in the final moments that upends your expectations.

Tedesco’s triumvirate of scientists – actors Jake Bennett, Erica Manni, and Joshua David Bishop – play well off of one another’s surety and skepticism, and the pacing of Tedesco’s narrative is itself like time ticking down to a phenomenal climax. it’s a story tailor-made to watch over and over and certain to yield new insight each time.

I’ve said enough, the rest you need to discover for yourself. Bottom line – The Constant is an original and mind-bending piece of compact sci-fi that begs many questions, the most prominent being: “where can I see more of Ben Tedesco’s work?” That, at least, I can answer: jump over to his Vimeo page, link in the video below.


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