The premise of Aporia is extremely far-fetched and more than a little ludicrous. If you can accept it at face value without picking it apart too much, the movie will provoke you intellectually and emotionally. Sophie (Judy Greer) is a widow mourning the untimely death of her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi). She’s attempting to hold on for the sake of their distraught daughter. Mal was hit by a drunk driver named Darby (Adam O’Byrne) who, a year later, still hasn’t received legal consequences. The whole situation is tragic.
Sophie gets a visit from Mal’s friend, a former physicist named Jabir (Payman Maadi). He informs her that he attempted to build a time machine. It didn’t work, but it does do something else. Via a series of mathematical calculations, he can use it to kill a person in the past. Jabir suggests using it to kill Darby before the accident, thereby bringing Mal back to life. Desperate to reunite with her husband for her and their daughter’s sake, Sophie agrees. The act brings several complications, the first being that they must explain to Mal what they’ve done. The second is that tinkering with the past brings changes that have to be reckoned with.
Aporia brings up a lot of intriguing moral issues. The first, of course, is whether Sophie and Jabir have the right to kill Darby. Although he did a bad thing, he had people in his life who loved him. Now they’re suffering the same loss Sophie did. Then there’s the matter of whether she, Jabir, and Mal should use the device again. Many tragedies could be prevented if they do. On the other hand, the trio has no way to predict what the repercussions would be. Writer/director Jared Moshe dives into these and additional quandaries, making you question what you would do in this situation.
Excellent performances put a human context around the story’s ethical component. Judy Greer is outstanding as Sophie, making her elation to have Mal back every bit as affecting as she makes her grief when he’s dead. Edi Gathegi is equally good, capturing the mixture of relief and curiosity Mal feels knowing he’s been given a second chance at life. Payman Maadi has the difficult task of delivering all the silly scientific jargon. To his credit, the actor sells it with conviction.
The science here is definitely silly. Jabir offers an explanation for how the machine works. It’s a string of fancy sounding terms and concepts mashed together into word salad. None of it is convincing. The way to enjoy Aporia is to simply look past it and focus on these appealing characters as they grapple with how they’ve changed their own lives and debate if they should change the lives of others. Do that and the movie will hold you in its spell.
out of four
Aporia is rated R for some language. The running time is 1 hour and 43 minutes.