A man on the edge and with nothing left to lose meet his best childhood friend in a bar in London. While they talking it becomes clear that he has an angry attitude against people he blames for his failure.
Going back in time is dangerous we know this from multiple indie films where those trying to slip back and tinker have found themselves caught up in loops or finding more than they bargained for. So it is with Record/Play; we open with a man sitting listening to one of seemingly endless cassette tapes, picking one and hearing a woman's voice talking to him before suddenly stopping. The man wipes his tears and goes back into the workshop to find some tools. Next time he plays the cassette he is transported to the place where the woman is making the recording.
Record/Play doesn't really do anything we haven't seen before, it just does it quicker. The device of coming back multiple times in an attempt to fix a problem with a specific moment in time, but struggling to do so, is not an infrequent one but here it is not asked too much of because of the length of the film. We don't get any detail as to the background of the tapes (although the amount of them draws in the interest) nor to the specifics of the woman, but it is clear this is a personal tale to the main character. From the initial jump the film moves quite quickly, showing us the rules of this game, as it were before getting into the "additional information" series of jumps on the way to solid ending. There are holes in its internal logic if you pick at it a little, but generally it looks good and works. Performances from Shakir and Gupta are both good and Atlas' direction of them and the camera is good.
It is a well-trodden path in some ways, but the pace of this short plus the little details help to hold the viewer and, although it leads to a familiar place, it does still work well.
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