A man films updates on his life over a 35 year period in Sam Klemke’s Time Machine. In 1977, a teenaged Sam Klemke decides that he is going to film an annual progress report on his life. As the years go by, Klemke progressively becomes more heavy and bearded, as he settles into a career as a caricature artist. The same year this project began, the Voyager space probe was launched, the story of which is told as a parallel to Klemke’s story.
To put it bluntly, there is nothing all that special about Sam Kleme’s life, except that he decided to film yearly updates. As time goes by, Klemke moves from youthful optimism to becoming an obese middle-aged man, lamenting that his life hasn’t really gone anywhere. Then in 2011, Klemke decided edit his videos into a reverse-aging clip posted on YouTube, which went viral and resulted in Australian filmmaker Matthew Bate contacting Klemke to make this documentary.
Sam Klemke’s Time Machine is a very self-reflexive film, in which we get to see this man age from a teenager to a 50-something over the course of 89 minutes. The film is pretty well edited and will often flash back to earlier videos to compare events of Sam Klemke’s life. There is also a “doc within the doc” called Journey to the Stars, where a French narrator describes the Voyager space probe and the Golden Record, which provided a portrait of humanity. While the connection of these two elements are not immediately apparent, they do end up coming together by the end. Altogether, Sam Klemke’s Time Machine is an interesting look into 35 years of a man’s life.★ ★ ★ 1/2 | FAIR