In Norway in the year 2046 teleportation is as commonplace as the internet. Teenager Ian Finch (Harald Evjan Furuholmen) returns home to find his troubled five year old brother has vanished. As result of a mysterious incident three billion people around the world have disappeared without a trace. While special agent Jane Scott (Brathen Elin Synnøve) assembles a team of police detectives and young scientists to investigate, Ian tries to find his brother alone. He arrives on a parallel Earth and finds an ally in an enigmatic young gun-toting stranger (Hugo Herrmann) who tells him nothing is as it seems.
This science fiction action film was shot on a shoestring budget by a group of Norwegian high school students. Against the odds Everywhen secured a small theatrical run in Oslo and, thanks to the young filmmakers' canny decision to shoot in English, even scored a fairly wide international release on Blu-Ray and DVD. That kind of heartening underdog story alone engenders some good will. On top of that Everywhen is a surprisingly slick looking production with impressive photography and well choreographed action scenes. Seventeen year old first-time writer-director Jarand Breian Herdal (who, along with special effects supervisor Jens Peder Hertzberg, juggles multiple duties behind the scenes) exhibits a solid grasp of pacing and visual storytelling. Alas, a sloppy sound mix does a disservice to an otherwise well-tuned script. Additionally Herdal falls into the same trap that befalls many young first-time directors. Namely a propensity to indulge in cool guy posing, Mexican stand-offs and silly training montages where the teenage stars get to play with guns, at the expense of advancing his high-concept plot.
Exhibiting a notable Christopher Nolan influence (right down to the Hans Zimmer-like score), Everywhen gets off to a compelling start but loses its way once Herdal starts padding the plot with juvenile gun-play. The plot suffers a few logic holes but still maintains a compelling through line of ideas and emotional development. In particular the core relationship between brothers Ian and Dylan (Hauk Phillip Bugge) is well drawn and fairly affecting, recalling aspects of Scandinavian children's classic The Brothers Lionheart (1977) by Astrid Lindgren. Herdal's script unwisely apes a lot of cheesy Americanisms and while the acting of the two teen leads is generally solid the older supporting cast leave a lot to be desired. British actor Graeme Whittington repeatedly flubs his lines as the disheveled (Geordie!) inventor of the teleportation device. Which is a shame given he shoulders the bulk of the exposition.
Young unknowns Harald Evjan Furuholmen and Hugo Herrmann, who resembles a bleached blonde Jesse Eisenberg, handle the drama capably but are too fresh-faced to convince as gun-toting badass action heroes. Indeed the gun-play proves somewhat problematic. Much like The Matrix (1999), Everywhen's posturing cool-obsessed action heroes are weirdly blasé about inflicting collateral damage. Which, in the wake of so many real-life high school shootings, leaves the climax a tad unsettling. Even so, hopefully this is just a springboard to greater things for the talented Herdal and Hertzberg.