Incarnation’s premise, while intriguing, is far from original. Time loops are a classic sci-fi staple, and have been cropping up in films across the board, again and again – and again. Luckily, Incarnation seems to understand this, and focuses on telling an old story in style.
Serbian first-time director Filip Kovacevic has clearly given DoP Uros Miltunovic the opportunity to have some fun – the cinematography is the real star here. Every shot is impressive, with several longer takes making full use of the time-loop premise and the majestic shooting location, Belgrade. As our amnesiac hero ventures out further into his surroundings, the camera revels in swooping through this labyrinthine maze of alleyways, crumbling apartment blocks and subterranean passages.
As the lead, Stojan Djordjevic gives a fine physical performance, although as a narrator his monotone quickly irritates. The script itself appears to have not survived the translation to English, resulting in dialogue feeling stilted and devoid of subtlety. Luckily Kovacevic prefers to show not tell, offering explanations through flashbacks and appropriately cinematic reveals – avoiding a mountain of overbearing exposition in the process.
While the plot does fall apart, it doesn’t really matter; by then Incarnation has sucked you into its world, and you’ll be holding your breath through a series of thrilling chases and visceral fight scenes – and keeping an eye out on the way home for any masked assassins.
Although rough around the edges, Incarnation makes full use of a limited budget and plays to its strengths, managing to feel both inventive and distinctive, even in a crowded subgenre. This memorable debut from Kovacevic is worth checking out, and has ‘cult classic’ written all over it.
CAST: Stojan Djordjevic, Arsenije Arsic, Dejan Cicmilovic
DIRECTOR: Filip Kovacevic
WRITER: Filip Kovacevic
SYNOPSIS: A man wakes up in a square of an unknown city again and again, after each failed attempt to escape four masked assassins. Through the never ending chase, he tries to recover his identity, and find out who set him up.