Buying Time Poster

Buying Time (2024) Review

Buying Time takes place in the England of 2028, a country in the grip of rapidly mutating viruses. Daniel (Andy Blithe, Boudica: Queen of War, Wanderers of War: Blackout) knows that all too well, he’s recently lost his wife and then his daughter. Now he mostly sits in front of a TV set and drinks, about the only time he leaves his apartment is when his friend Shaun (Ryan Enever, Best Geezer, Possum) refuses to take no for an answer and all but drags him out.

During one of these trips, Daniel tells Shaun that he’s convinced something is suspicious about the way they died. He’s been having flashbacks, and he thinks they’re trying to tell him something. As a result, he’s been all over the internet doing his own research into the situation.

It seems to lead to a company called Lifeline, which developed a microchip that somehow managed to fight off most of the viruses and was available free through the National Health Service. They’ve announced an upgraded, for profit, version of the chip. And apparently that has been followed by a spate of seemingly random deaths among those who get the free version.

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Mutated viruses, might as well just say COVID, microchips, shady corporations and untrained nutters doing their own research online, sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Director Kris Smith (Anonymous: National Emergency, Laura’s Story) and writer/star Andy Blithe have reworked the various pandemic conspiracy theories put forward by attention seekers and con artists into a film only the kind of people who won’t go out without a tinfoil bodysuit to protect them from 5G rays could take seriously.

How ridiculous is Buying Time? When one of Lifeline’s board tries to quit, CEO Victor Harrington (Mark Wells, The Hit, New Year’s Eve), who looks like Kingpin from Marvel Comics, has him murdered right there and then as a warning to the rest of them. Subtle, isn’t he?

Something like that works in a film like RoboCop because the whole film is over the top and unrealistic. Here we’re being asked to take what we’re seeing seriously, and not only is the story ludicrous it’s being presented as blatant, in your face propaganda which isn’t likely to do anything but alienate anyone who isn’t already a believer.

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It only gets worse when Daniel runs into an old classmate, Tess (Estelle Long, The Souvenir, If Cain Were Able) who suffered similar losses and now happens to be part of a resistance group, all four of them, who plan to take Lifeline down. But the conspiracy which also includes killing off the underclasses with the chips, yes they worked that one in as well, stretches all the way to Prime Minister Jane White (Jules Maxine, Stragglers, Aria).

It’s too bad that Buying Time’s script fails so utterly as anything but a sermon to the quire because it’s a very well made film from a technical perspective, especially for a no budget, DIY film. The cinematography is solid, as is the sound. The performances are also descent across the board, and there are plenty of extras for the crowd scenes, one place where many low budget films run into trouble.

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Unfortunately, it’s all in service of a plot that’s not only incredibly dense and frequently predictable, but an insult to everyone who lost friends or loved ones to COVID and to those who worked on finding a vaccine to deal with it. In an interview, Blithe has said, “hopefully inspiring people to not accept what we see on the surface but to do their own research.” We all know how well doing your own research worked during COVID when unstable people like Daniel got themselves and others killed believing some random crank on YouTube over actual experts. For all the accusations against Bill Gates and Dr, Fauci, that was the real cause of unnecessary deaths.

Buying Time will be released in the UK on July 12th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information. Just be sure and wear your tinfoil hat if you do.

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