'Einstein's God Model': Film Review

Courtesy of Mike Turano/Induction Productions
Although it lacks technical polish, this imaginative indie is bursting with ambition.

A grieving man takes part in a scientific experiment to communicate with his late girlfriend in Philip T. Johnson's sci-fi thriller.

Delving into arcane scientific theories involving such matters as quantum physics and string theory, Einstein's God Model is a low-budget, sci-fi indie that's definitely of the more cerebral variety. While lacking the technical polish necessary to lift it into a more elevated cinematic dimension, Philip T. Johnson's directorial debut earns points for its thematic ambitions and cheeky wit. After all, it's impossible to entirely resist a film that lists Thomas Edison, Nikolas Tesla and Niels Bohr in its opening credits.

Despite the film's title, it's actually Edison who figures most prominently in the story, which concerns a young anesthesiologist, Brayden (Aaron Graham), desperate to reconnect with his recently deceased girlfriend (Kirby O'Connell) to whom he proposed while she was dying in the street after being hit by a car.

Having heard about a scientific experiment, the "God Model Project," involving an attempt to communicate with the dead, Brayden tries to get in touch with the physicist who conducted it. It turns out that the man recently passed away, but his widow agrees to hand over his antique lab apparatus apparently once used by Edison. Eventually joining Brayden in his desperate quest are the physicist's shady former assistant (Kenneth Hughes) and an alcoholic medium (Brad Norman) who was literally blinded by science while serving as the subject of the previous experiment.

Johnson's talky screenplay includes generous amounts of scientific and metaphysical jargon which is more effective than the cheesy digital special effects and unskilled filmmaking. The quality of the acting varies wildly, with Norman's charismatic turn as the bitter psychic being the standout..

Einstein's God Model is at its most impressive in its elaborately staged pre-credits and climactic sequences, but flounders with long tedious stretches in-between. But it reveals a tyro filmmaker with enough clever tricks up his sleeve to make you look forward to what he comes up with next.

Distributor: Indie Rights
Production companies: Imageworks Chicago, Trees of Shade, Induction Productions
Cast: Kenneth Hughes, Kirby O'Connell, Aaron Graham, Brad Norman
Director-screenwriter-editor: Philip T. Johnson
Producers: Craig Dow, Kenneth Hughes, Philip T. Johnson
Director of photography: Michael Turano
Production designer: Kevin Kroes
Composer: Senon Williams

Not rated, 89 minutes