Fantasia has literally adopted time travel movies since… Well, always. If time travel is invented at some point, we’ll get to revisit every single Fantasia since 1996. Wouldn’t that be something.
Origami follows the known patterns of a time travel movie, which is basically the emotional component and the infamous paradox plus the usual insanity plea. In that context, director Patrick Demers and writers André Gulluni and Claude Lalonde opt out of the whole time machine prop. I applaud that choice because it’s just a hindrance in this case. Instead, David has developed the ability to concentrate and travel to a different point in his own timeline. He can only alter his own history.
He has apparently learned the concept of time bending from a Japanese author, who shows up at his door letting David know that he was sent his own book, four years ago before he finished it. Since then David and the author have had conversations that David doesn’t recall.
In one of those time travels, he ends up changing something that puts him in a mental hospital. David suffers from memory loss, and his time travel trips are slowly uncovering his past. During his trip to Tokyo, he discovers he left his daughter in the car at the airport. This parent’s nightmare results in the death of the child, David’s mental breakdown and the divorce from his wife.
The movie has strong performances from the cast, very acceptable production levels and a worthy motive. However, something feels unfinished. All the time David has been restoring this image of a Japanese Samurai. When he’s finally allowed out of the mental institution, the image is gone. So is the book from the Japanese author. He’s compelled to recreate the portrait and suddenly he just sees the book lying around. These things have not a hint of an explanation or involvement with the rest of the story at large. Yes, there’s a good chance he’s just gone insane.
You could simply come up with your own theories here, but there has to be some semblance of sense in the disconnected events and scenes. Otherwise it seems like a collage of different takes of similar scenes lazily put together. There should be a hint of what the director and/or writing team wanted the explanation to be. Whether the theory is refutable or not can be left to the viewer.
I’ve got my reservations about recommending this one. It’s a well performed drama but a mystery created without an answer. In the Q&A that followed, the producers and creators admitted the Japanese references were thrown in without really having any ramifications or ties to the rest of the story. It feels more like a box with a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t fit but they’ve been put together because the colors match. Perhaps they can go back in time and fix it.
That will do for now.