This film is a take on C L Moore's classic short story "Vintage Season". In "Vintage Season" time travellers from a distant future visit the present. Just as wine connosieurs savour a particular "year" so does these travellers seek out a specific year noteworthy for its unexpected descent into tragedy. Like that last Bank Holiday in August 1914, before the Great War came. The travellers are totally dispassionate about the events they witness, they are just as happy visiting the coronation of Charlemagne as they at witnessing the collapse of a modern civilisation. Reading the story conveys the impression that time travellers would view any world they visit as sort of an open air zoo or theme park. The story is disturbing, particularly as it is written from the persceptive of a man who only gradually realises that his visitors are the equivalent of racecourse spectators waiting for a crash, and that his world is doomed to collapse. The travellers are venal, petty and devoid of any empathy for the suffering of others.
Whilst copying several of the plot elements from the original story the film burdens Jeff Daniels with an unbelievable soap opera-ish tragedy in his past. The tragedy is supposed to invigourate Mr Daniels into trying to change the future, even though he can't change the past. The narration is weak, and the "action" by Daniels lacks any dramatic tension. Daniels is an actor too associated with light roles to bring much dramatic tension or detremination to the role. A happy ending when the future has already been written ? A great story looses all its strength when watered down to this anaemic film.
Unfortunately this film, like the latest remake of the "Time Machine" just doesn't do justice to its antecedents.