In the near future, when a technology corporation has created a method for traveling into the past, a history professor gets trapped in 1357 France, prompting his students and son to travel back in time and face untold perils to rescue him.
A bunch of archeologists (and Paul Walker) happen upon a strange set of modern artifacts in a cave that hadn’t seen the light of day in more than 600 years. Come to find out, a technology company that was trying to perfect teleportation discovered a wormhole that led directly to ancient France, and the lead archaeologist (Paul’s dad) has gotten himself trapped in the past.
Paul and a team of the the archeologists must travel back in time to save Paul’s father, and in doing so, try not to irreparably change the past. (Spoiler alert: They’re not very good at that last part.)
Neal McDonough as Frank Gordon
In most roles I’ve ever seen him in, Neal plays a military or former military man. Frank is—you guessed it—a former military man, and is stern, unforgiving and takes no prisoners. Neal plays him perfectly.
David Thewlis as Robert Doniger
David can be so wonderful and charming (e.g. Remus Lupin), but the character of Robert is anything but. As the head of the company behind the time travel mix-up, he’s only out to save his own behind. David plays him surprisingly well, which is a sign of just how good an actor he is.
Matt Craven as Steven Kramer
Matt often plays the lackey to douchey businessmen (see above), and this role is no different.
Billy Connolly as Professor Johnston
The professor is a bit of an absent-minded type, which Billy plays so wonderfully. Also, I could listen to him talk for hours and hours and never get bored, even if he was waxing poetic on the many benefits of eating paste.
Paul Walker as Chris Johnston
Paul often plays the same kind of role: kind of doofy but loveable dude-bros with a penchant for Converse sneakers. Chris is not a break from the norm, but he’s adorable and turns out to be a key player in the group’s escape from 1300s France.
Gerard Butler as Andre Marek
The 2002-04 years were the start of Gerard’s real prominence in Hollywood. Gerard isn’t the star of Timeline, per se, but he’s a vital part of the ensemble, and plays the the lead romantic character. This movie is one that made me first take note of Gerard, particularly for Andre’s hopeless romanticism (but also because of his floppy hair and Scottish accent).
Ethan Embry as Josh Stern
Ethan infuses his cute and neurotic nature into Josh, a scientist who stays at home when the rest of the team heads to the past.
Rossif Sutherland as François Dontelle
Have you seen Reign? Imagine Nostradamus a little more timid and with a French accent and you’ve got François.
Frances O’Connor as Kate Ericson
I honestly can’t remember if I’ve seen Frances in any role other than this one, and Kate’s not that great of a character. She’s supposed to be a strong female lead, but comes across as kind of whiny/annoying/a know-it-all. Oh, wait! Mansfield Park. She was good in that.
Marton Csokas as Sir William De Kere/William Decker
Decker is a bit of a psychopath and the main bad guy in Timeline. Marton has a history of playing bad guys, and he’s so good at it. (There seems to be a theme in this movie of people playing familiar characters …)
Anna Friel as Lady Claire
This movie was my first introduction to Anna, and I thought she was adorable/destined for big things because of it. She’s just so dang cute in everything! Additionally, Claire is actually a strong female character, which is refreshing when compared to Kate. Anna also pulls off a great (I think?) French accent in the role.
Michael Sheen as Lord Oliver
Lord Oliver is your typical entitled British nobleman and head of the British army that’s attacking the village in France the team travels to. Michael Sheen, in real life, might be less entitled, is not the leader of a British army regiment, and I don’t think he’s a nobleman, but he sure can act like he’s all of the above.
Lambert Wilson as Lord Arnaut
Lambert plays the leader of the French army fighting against the British, and Claire’s brother. It’s not a huge role.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Medium
This movie is a little ridiculous. It’s got some serious plot issues, and messes with the timelines of the past something fierce, which is totally breaking the first rule of Time Travel Club. And yet, it’s super entertaining and totally worth making your closest friends and family watch with you.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice
The liberties that this movie takes with science might make some actual scientists cringe in disgust, so I’m guessing anyone with a science background will need to have a drink (or five) to get through this. If you’re able to suspend belief and look past the plot holes, you can just drink for fun, or not.
Use of Your Netflix Subscription: Good
When looking for something to watch for this week’s post, I saw Timeline pop up in my suggested list. I’ve seen it before, many times (it’s one of those movies I will watch whenever it’s on TV), but I immediately wanted to watch it again to honor Paul Walker’s memory. (Netflix doesn’t have any of the Fast and Furious movies, which is a total tragedy.) It’s no Oscar-winning film, but it’s entertaining and silly and a little bit romantic, so even if you’re not a science fiction fan, I think you might enjoy this if you give it a chance.