Movie Musing: Unraveling a Stitch in Time

Sci-Fi Short Film: “A Stitch In Time” presented by DUST

I can’t help thinking that the description of this “short” film is a misnomer – it’s a lot longer than it needs to be! But there’s a lot more hidden in the title!

There’s a dreadful 2 minutes or so where the lead character fumbles in near dark conditions trying to find his intruder (I suspect I’m not alone in suspecting right from the outset who the intruder turns out to be), but then we come to the thread which holds it together…

Or does it need unraveling? There’s a dreadful hole in this plot…

Wait for it…

I’ll get the initial annoyances out the way first.

The plot in Stitch in Time is highly predictable. And it’s painstakingly slow! I was nearly in tears in the absence of a 2x play speed button (and brightness turned to the max. – why does ‘suspense’ always need to happen in the dark?)

There’s no suspense; it’s an old and classic plot line, and we’re treated like idiots because we’re directed early on to look at the times shown on the lounge clock – five past six when he discovers the mess in the lounge; it’s 6 o’clock ‘later’ when he’s walked through the hole. No mystery.

Prepare to meet thy…self

However, he seems to need a conveniently placed time travel book to realise that he’s gone back in time. What would have happened if he’d been reading another book? Would he have encountered a simian takeover if he’d have picked up Planet of the Apes? (OK, I’ll grant you. That has a time travel element to it!)

Still, he immediately grasps the concept that he cannot meet himself. I’ve never really understood why this should be the case. Inanimate objects from different times can apparently inhabit the same space but why not humans? Is it a biological thing, or a motion thing, for example that we walk from one room to another, maybe with a golf-club?

The idea seems illogical to me, though I concede that if my past self was coming at me with a golf club I’d prefer to avoid meeting myself too.

Ah yes, the golf club. Another happy coincidence like the time travel travel book that was lying around, or is it a pun on the movie title – A Stitch in Time…Saves Nine; does the nine iron golf club save the protagonist?

Stitching with a loose thread

On the subject of puns, we’re presented with the fabric of space and time. Very cheesy but I suppose it sets the scene. I half expect him to start running so hard he gets a stitch. Anyway. He sees the thread hanging in mid air, and this is where things finally start to get interesting.

I’m going to zoom forward now to consider the origin of the thread. It’s essentially a left over piece of thread which has been pushed through from the other side. I’m no needlecraft expert, but wouldn’t that mean that by pulling the thread the gap would just be sewn together even tighter, rather than opening it up?

A bit loopy

Many of the youtube comments suggest that there’s a repetitive loop in action here, but I disagree.

When the protagonist sews up the hole he’s on the other side, i.e. on the side that is back in time. (I’m refusing to call this the backside…). In other words, he’s time traveled again.

And this means that because he’s back in time there are now 3 versions of the character in the past – the original, the guy who stepped through the hole first, and now the guy who’s backing into it a second time and sewing it up behind him.

Given that the second one will keep becoming the the third and sewing up the hole, he keeps going back – leading to an infinite number of characters in this short segment of 5 minutes. It doesn’t look like a large place he’s got, so I’m sure he’s going to end up meeting himself…but we didn’t see this.

Maybe meeting yourself does end up in annihilation after all…

So he’ll never make it into the future. Does this mean that Stitch in Time has an “open loop”? I’m not sure, but it does seem like a bit of a loose end here…

Further reading

For a collection of interrelated time travel short stories which utilise the fabric of time as a time travel mechanism, you’d do well to look at CR Downing’s Traveler’s HOT L series (reviews: Volume 1 and Volume 2). There’s also Ernie Wood’s One Red Thread – I think you can see the connection! 😉


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