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In our article, we’ll be looking at the directed by Travis Milloy, released in 2017.
The of the , Frank Lerner (Christopher Soren Kelly), is arrested and wakes in a with a bot named Howard (Jesse D. Arrow). A government agency, the ISN, wants to interrogate Frank using a device that forces him to relive the same day again and again as in .
Frank wants to , and what begins as a simple premise turns into a filled with unimaginable twists and turns.
The can be interpreted in a few different ways, so we’ll look at the and characters before discussing some of those theories. Warning: this is -heavy, so don’t read it if you haven’t watched it! (If you want more alternatives to watch, try our article on The Best Movies Like Interstellar – there are some gems to try there).
Infinity Chamber – Plot Summary
The and opens with our , Frank, collapsing to the ground, having been shot with a neutralizing gun. He wakes in a strange cell with an odd-looking door that has something oscillating in the middle.
A bot appears from the ceiling to talk to Frank. His name is Howard. The two acquaint themselves, and Howard explains his job is to simply keep Frank alive.
Frank without accepting this new , has intermittent flashbacks to waking in his apartment and listening to the news.
Getting to Know Howard
Frank and Howard continue to talk. Frank’s flashback continues with him walking through a city.
Howard discovers – slightly too late, having already peed on the floor – that there is a bathroom in his cell. The moment he steps in, the door locks, and he hears a mechanical whirring sound coming from the outside world. When he re-emerges, the chamber is clean.
Frank continues the flashback, in which he enters a coffee shop.
Frank eats soup in his cell and questions if Howard has ever tasted it. This leads to the realization that Howard is a computer, not a person.
The coffee shop flashback continues with intermittent shots of Frank trying to break his way out of the chamber. In the flashback, the barista serving Frank coffee (Gabby) tries to guess his name and reveals she’s a photographer. She grabs his hands and correctly guesses his name.
Shortly after this moment in the , Frank is arrested.
The Infinity Chamber
Frank arrives in his memory again at the point where the woman in the coffee shop grabs his hands, only this time he yells at her to stop it and is neutralized again.
Frank reveals to Howard that his father was kept alive for four years with heart disease on a ventilator, and he felt it was inhumane.
Howard reveals he found an error. According to the data, he was transferred from the same place he was sent, which Howard says is impossible. Howard wants to request a repair, but Frank will need to damage something first, so Frank throws a punch at Howard, triggering the alert system – which dispenses gas, causing Frank to fall unconscious.
Frank wakes up to find himself traveling along a strange corridor, strapped tight and unable to move. He screams in pain as though being tortured.
The flashback continues at the coffee shop. Frank questions if Gabby knows what’s going on, but she doesn’t understand what he means.
Frank helps Gabby to close the coffee shop and finds a control box that appears to control what looks like a scanning machine. He comes to the realization that the machine has confused him for someone else – it scans him, then gives out a false ID number. When he stands up, he is again neutralized.
Frank tells Howard that the machine thought he was someone else. Howard refuses to believe the machines could make such a huge error.
In his memory, Frank goes about his day as normal. This time, on the way to the coffee shop, he sees an explosion off in the distance.
When he wakes, he’s in the chamber again, with explosions continuing. In the next scene, Frank is in a dimly lit chamber. He resorts to drinking a liquid that drips from the ceiling, as Howard won’t respond.
Frank hears a banging noise and shouts for help through a vent, discovering that Fletcher May, leader of the Alliance, is in a cell next to him.
Fletcher and Frank attempt to escape unsuccessfully. Frank asks if the ISN is doing the same thing to Fletcher using flashbacks, and Fletcher gives Frank the key to beating the device: think clearly of a specific memory and then change one thing about the memory. This confuses the system as it can’t travel down the right pathways. That way, Frank can hide information in his own memories.
Fletcher expresses his despair at being imprisoned for so long and decides to commit suicide. Frank can’t help, and the suicide attempt triggers the alarm system, knocking Frank out.
Frank is back in the fully functioning chamber. He screams for Fletcher, but Howard responds instead. Frank yells at Howard to check on Fletcher, but Howard doesn’t know who he is – he’s rebooted.
Frank is back in his memory in the coffee shop. This time, Gabby suggests they already know each other.
Frank hides from the scanner behind the counter. He explains everything to Gabby, and together they come up with a plan.
Frank continues to revisit his memories intermittently whilst pacing his cell. He relives the same day, again and again, trying to figure out a way to change his memory to prevent his arrest. Eventually, with Gabby’s co-operation, he tricks the guards, sneaking up on them and beating them, questioning them, and then letting them go.
Howard is malfunctioning.
In the next flashback, Howard and Gabby start the day together. Frank’s apartment wall is now covered in a complex array of diagrams, charts, and drawings. He and Gabby have obviously been trying to figure out a plan.
Gabby asks Frank to find him again if the plan works. Frank allows the guards to arrest him. When he wakes again in his cell, Howard gives him a coffee. Frank thanks him repeatedly. Frank asks to use the bathroom, and when he opens the door, he triggers the alarm system, making an escape.
The First Escape
Frank makes his way through a series of corridors, dodging security bots. He climbs a ladder and finds himself alone in a desolate landscape.
He passes through a series of wind turbines and finds a gas station. He grabs a bottle of water, but when he turns to the left, he sees Gabby’s photographs on the wall. He realizes he’s still trapped in memory, in his cell, with Howard.
Howard offers him breakfast and coffee. Frank tells him there is no breakfast, and there is no coffee. He begs Howard to let him out, but Howard refuses. Frank says that he will die if he stays in his cell.
Frank explains that he is part of the Alliance and that he built the virus that could crash the ISN system. He knows that the ISN is trying to find out where Frank is storing the virus, so Frank intentionally hid the virus in his memory.
Frank asks Howard for some music. He prepares to hang himself, while in his memory, he revisits the coffee shop one more time. In his memory, Gabby begs him to stop it, while in the cell, Howard does the same.
A rescue robot appears and cuts Frank down. He dashes out of the door and calls for Howard to help him. Howard quickly closes the door after him, enabling him to escape.
In another cell, Gabby sits alone.
The Second Escape
Frank finds a control panel with a bunch of malfunctioning screens. Howard speaks to him over the speaker system, and Howard tells Frank that LSO stands for Life Support Officer. Frank remembers his father on the ventilator. Frank switches the power off and climbs the ladder to escape again.
This time, it’s snowing. Frank descends a mountain through the cold, eventually stumbling upon the scene that Gabby photographed. He is rescued by hikers.
News reports say that Frank is the only remaining survivor of an abandoned ISN detainment centre and that he was kept alive by the computer system powered by wind turbines. Eventually, Frank returns to the coffee shop, approaches the wall of photographs, and finds the key containing the virus behind the frame.
Gabby appears next to him. It’s unclear if she remembers him or not. Frank throws the key in the trash, and Gabby tells him her name is Madeleine. She guesses his name incorrectly. The camera zooms out to show what looks like Howard, attached to the ceiling of the coffee shop.
That’s it! So before we try to unpick what happened there, let’s take a look at the characters.
Infinity Chamber Characters
The main character, Frank, is involved in work for the Alliance, having built a virus that could crash the entire ISN system. He is arrested in a coffee shop and taken to a cell and spends the entire movie attempting to escape.
Howard is Frank’s LSO (life support operator). While Frank is in the cell, it’s Howard’s job to give Frank food and drink, to play him music, and to let him use the bathroom. Howard malfunctions midway through the movie. He and Frank form a bond, with Howard ultimately allowing Frank to escape in order to save his life.
The ISN is a corrupt government organization. Although we don’t find out much more about the ISN, we know they are in conflict with the Alliance. The ISN arrest Frank in an attempt to find where he hid the virus that could bring down their system.
The Alliance is a group headed up by Fletcher May, attempting to bring down the ISN for human rights violations.
Gabby is a barista and the owner of the coffee shop where Frank is arrested. She’s a photographer as a hobby. Gabby helps Frank in his memories, but when he ultimately finds her, she says her name is Madeline.
Fletcher May is the leader of the Alliance. At the time of Frank’s arrest, Fletcher was missing, causing riots and protests against the ISN.
There are several ways to interpret this movie. You could interpret it as a happy ending – Frank escapes, finds Gabby/Madeline, and moves on with his life. Or, there are other theories:
Life Support Machine
One theory is that Frank is on a life support machine as hinted at by Howard (‘my job is to keep you alive’). Frank comes to this realization at the end of the movie and deliberately gives up the virus by throwing it in the trash. With that information, the ISN no longer need to keep interrogating him, and so they let him live out a happy daydream, watched over by Howard.
Frank returns home to his dog, which some people have pointed out, isn’t that realistic given that Frank was held for two years in automated prison – thus suggesting that the ending is some sort of daydream. Also, Gabby doesn’t appear at the end until after he gives up the virus – suggesting they gave him Gabby/Madeleine as a ‘reward.’
This theory makes the most sense to us and is heavily hinted at by the presence of Howard right at the end of the movie (you can see this in the image above). The question is, when did Frank figure this out? Did he know that by surrendering the virus, he’d be left alone? Or did he realize that after he’d given it up?
Is Frank Dead?
Another theory suggests that Frank is shot dead at the beginning, and the ISN are able to use technology to plunder his memories to find the virus.
Howard, the Human
The actor who voices Howard appears in several scenes in the coffee shop. He’s a young guy wearing a brown jacket, always somewhere near Frank. Some people think that Howard was real all along and is overseeing Frank from somewhere else.
At the beginning of the movie, a human appears to speak into a microphone, where his voice was changed. This suggests that Howard is, in fact, a human speaking through a bot. However, this doesn’t hold up when you consider Howard glitching towards the end of the movie.
One theory is that Frank wanted to be captured by the ISN and that the scene in which Gabby and Frank make plans actually refers to him being arrested.
We briefly see Gabby at the end of the movie in a cell, but it’s never referred to again. Some people think she was arrested alongside him. If this theory is true, Gabby must have died in prison, as Frank is described as ‘the only survivor.’
Howard and Gabby = the Same?
One last theory for you. Some people believe that Howard and Gabby were both simulated and are part of the same programme. There are small hints to this, like the fact the padded chair from Frank’s cell appears in Gabby’s coffee shop, and that Howard and Gabby occasionally share lines or even overlap each other.
Frequently Asked Questions About Infinity Chamber
We may never know what the true meaning of the movie is, but we might be able to answer a few of your questions.
Milloy directed Pandorum in 2009 (this is referenced in Infinity Chamber, with Frank wearing the same outfit as a character in Pandorum).
An obvious parallel is an Inception (2010), which is another complex movie involving dreams and memories. You could also try Looper (2012).
Well, that’s for you to figure out – but the consensus seems to be that no, he didn’t really escape.
You can watch it on Amazon Prime for an extra cost. (If you want more information on streaming services, try our article on the Best Streaming TV Service!)
Chamber had a relatively low budget, but that doesn’t stop it from being a mesmerizing and thought-provoking with an . We’d like to know your thoughts – what do you think happened to Frank in the end? Leave a comment below to tell us what your theory is.
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