The Tomorrow Job (2023) Review
With The Tomorrow Job writer/director Bruce Wemple steps away from the creature features like Monstrous and Dawn of the Beast that he’s been making lately to go back to the time paradox films such as Lake Artifact and Altered Hours that he started his career with.
In fact, The Tomorrow Job reworks Altered Hours’ premise of a drug that can send its user a day into the future as the jumping-off point for its tale of Lee (Grant Schumacher, Trust Your Driver, My Best Friend’s Dead) and his crew of time travelling thieves. Lee was a subject of the late Dr. Tupple’s (Rick Montgomery Jr., Puppet Master: Doktor Death, Connected) experiments in time travel. And when he left the project, he took the remaining samples of the drug with him.
Now he, along with Finn (Caitlin Duffy, Our Bed is Green, Chill) and Martin (Andrew Gombas, White Walls, Dark Rooms) use it to steal information for clients. It’s a risky, and complicated procedure, but it pays well, and that’s what matters.
Now this by itself would have made for an interesting heist film. The method by which the drug lets people exchange places with their future selves is both complicated and time-limited adding extra layers of risk for the characters and tension for the viewer. Instead, Wemple brings in an organization known as The Organization and led by The Organizer (William Champion, Table for Two, The Barbarians), which wants Lee’s stash of the time travel drug. Even though thanks to Derrick Wagner (George Katt, House of Bodies, Turnabout) another of Dr. Tupple’s lab rats, they have their own supply and it would seem the resources to hire someone to replicate it.
This is where The Tomorrow Job starts to go from complicated to confusing as Lee and his crew, Martin having been replaced with Sophia (Ariella Mastroianni, The Retreat, CAPITALISM in Three Aspect Ratios), become human versions of Schrodinger’s Cat with a limited amount of time to save themselves, and possibly the future, from becoming history.
There are double-crosses, dead people turn up alive which I’m sure has to be some kind of paradox, shady cryptocurrency brokers, and the film’s already vague rules of safe time travel seem to be completely forgotten as everyone runs around madly and the viewer starts to get a headache keeping it all straight.
Worse, The Tomorrow Job has a completely charisma-free protagonist. Lee is a petty criminal with a long arrest history who stumbled into a lucrative gig. He looks like a skeevy character from a 70s movie and has a bland personality, not what we need from an anti-hero. On the other side of things, Wagner is sufficiently villainous to give The Tomorrow Job a good antagonist, but The Organizer looks like he stepped off the cover of an 80s techno-pop album and spouts unintentionally funny dialogue. Wemple would have been better off giving him just enough screen time to establish his existence or had Wagner be in business for himself.
The Tomorrow Job has its moments and might be worthwhile if you’re needing a sci-fi fix. But the script is too loosely constructed and confusing to fully recommend to science fiction fans, and there are way too few action scenes for it to succeed on that level. And at an hour and forty-seven minutes, it’s too long overall. The film ends with a tease for a sequel, and a post-credits scene expands on it. If Wemple can tighten up his ideas, it could succeed where this fails.
Epic Pictures released The Tomorrow Job in theatres on January 13th and it will be available on VOD and Digital platforms on January 17th. You can check their website for details.