Time Code

"Good"

Time Code Review


Sorry, Mr. Lynch, your place at the head of the avant-garde experimental filmmaker table has been given away. Messrs. Jarmusch, Toback, Korine, and Cronenberg, you'll all be eating outside. Mike Figgis will be taking over for all of you, and don't come back.

Figgis, who earned a Best Director Oscar nomination for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996, appears to have gone a little funny in the head last year with his inexplicable and nearly dialogue-free The Loss of Sexual Innocence. Now he's fully gone off the deep end with what may be the most ambitious experiment ever: Time Code.

Now pay attention: Shooting on digital media (and thus avoiding the limitations of holding 10 minutes of film in a cartridge - the problem that haunted Hitchcock's Rope), Figgis took four digital cameras, started them rolling at 3:00 in the afternoon on a November day in 1999, scripted out a few basic plot points, and let a cast of 20 or 30 actors do their thing for 90 minutes. The four cameras follow around various characters as they improvise their way through an earthquake-torn day in Hollywood's snooty and provincial movie studio scene, often crossing paths, and invariably creating heartbreak. Usually lesbian heartbreak.

The catch is that the footage from all four cameras is all displayed at the same time: in four panes on the screen in front of you. Watching one Time Code is challenging enough. Watching four is serious work. The reprieve from this catch is that the sound is typically limited to one pane at a time -- and it's usually the one where Figgis wants you to look. As the story unfolds all around town, the drama shifts from pane to pane so that it's relatively easy to follow the intersecting tales.

If Time Code weren't so unique it would be awfully easy to dismiss the movie for its pretentiousness alone. At one point near the end of the film, a Euro filmmaker pitches an assembled cast of movie producers and executives the very premise of the movie we're watching -- which is then dismissed as being a pretentious joke! As if acknowledging the silliness up front somehow makes it less silly. Figgis even plans to attend select screenings and mix the soundtrack -- live -- for the audience like a DJ. Oh-kaayyyyyy....

Despite its quirks, Time Code is actually mostly enjoyable, and you quickly get used to the gimmick of the four panes. The acting is good, especially for improv work under duress, and the story is about what you'd expect. While I'm quite sure I'll soon be ready for good-old single-pane films, I'm certain Time Code is something that will stick with me for a while.

(Aka Timecode and Timecode/2000)

Yep, it really looks like this the whole time.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 300 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd January 1991

Production compaines: A&E Television Networks

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Advertisement
Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.