‘Movement and Location’: The time traveler’s life, under the radar in Brooklyn

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At first Bodine Boling’s work as a semi-hipster, do-gooder Brooklynite named Kim in “Movement and Location” comes across as so disjointed and odd it seems almost amateurish — but the more we know about Kim’s backstory, the more impressive the performance.

Non-spoiler of a spoiler alert: On the surface, Kim is a 30-year-old woman living in present-day New York City, but she’s actually a new arrival from about 400 years into the future, which explains why she’s not exactly familiar with the mannerisms, speech patterns and social mores of our time.

Kim might as well be an alien from another planet. (In fact, Boling’s work reminded me a little of Jeff Bridges’ memorable portrayal of a humanoid alien in “Starman.” At times this film also reminded me of John Sayles’ “The Brother from Another Planet.”) No wonder why Kim’s answers to questions about her personal life and her family history, as well as her reactions to some surprising developments in her life, sometime feel a little flat, as if she’s not quite sure what to do. She isn’t.

We know little about the world from which Kim has escaped, other than there have been drastic changes over the last 400 years and things are less than idyllic — and if you manage to hitch a ride to the past, it’s a one-way ticket, because the technology of that future doesn’t allow for a return.

Once Kim lands in the Brooklyn of 2015, some four centuries before her birth, she’s here for life.

Catherine Missal

Catherine Missal

Kim works for an outreach program for homeless adults, helping them to get off the park benches and taking them to safe places where they can find food, shelter and hopefully a new path. But when she encounters a 15-year-old street kid named Rachel (Catherine Missal) with whom she shares a common bond, her new life on Earth is turned upside down.

How far will Kim go to protect her secret? (Kim has traveled in time, but she has no superpowers and no means of proving her true origins. She knows if she’s arrested or subjected in any way to detailed scrutiny, her story won’t hold up and she’ll be locked up.) Why is she REALLY here? And what will happen when the truth hits the fan?

Kim launches into a romance with a good-hearted cop (Brendan Griffin) as a means of shielding the truth, but then she develops feelings for the guy, and she’s conflicted about what to do next. In the meantime, she has to fend off the increasingly suspicious probes of her co-worker (Haile Owusu) and her roommate (Ana Margaret Hollyman), who finally realize her story doesn’t add up.

And then things get REALLY complicated.

Written by lead actress Bodine Boling and directed with a steady hand by her husband Alexis, “Movement and Location” has some clear-cut parallels to the stories of immigrants who are in the States illegally and are trying to live quiet, productive lives without anyone asking too many questions. But it also works as a Rod Serling-esque sci-fi adventure of the mind, devoid of special effects but convincing us of its dimension-breaking elements through the use of dialogue, performance and music.

[s3r star=3.5/4]

Harmonium Films presents a film directed by Alexis Boling and written by Bodine Boling. Running time: 93 minutes. No MPAA rating. Available on demand and opens Friday at Facets Cinematheque.

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