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Timecode

Timecode

 

Title - Timecode
My Admission - $
One Line Review -  

 

Review - Ensemble Cast: Saffron Burrows, Salma Hayek, Holly Hunter, Kyle MacLachlan, Laurie Metcalf, Alessandro Nivola, Julian Sands, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Xander Berkeley, Golden Brooks, Viveka Davis, Richard Edson, Aimee Graham, Andrew Heckler, Danny Huston, Daphna Kastner, Elizabeth Low, Mia Maestro, Leslie Mann, Suzy Nakamura, Steven Weber

Cameo Cast Note: Because this movie was filmed in non-stop 93 minute takes, it's been reported (see L.A. Times article below) that it's possible there may be accidental cameos, such as director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Family Man) who reportedly bumped into Salma Hayek not knowing she was in the movie. (Though he wouldn't be in the movie if that were not the version Figgis ends up using)

Director: Mike Figgis (One Night Stand, Leaving Las Vegas, Mr. Jones, Liebestraum, The Loss of Sexual Innocence, The Browning Version, Internal Affairs, Stormy Monday)

Screenwriters: Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas, The Loss of Sexual Innocence, Liebestraum, One Night Stand, Stormy Monday)

Script Note: This movie was actually filmed off an outline, but not a complete script, with the actors improvising their lines.

Experimental Concept Note: This movie's filming is creative enough to warrant a note. Indeed, it's going to be what everyone talks about. This movie was filmed by four digital cameras that were running in synchronous time, following the actors as they performed the entire movie in its entirety. The best single set of four runs will then be combined, with all four movies running simultaneously on the screen. Another interesting method to this film is that many of the actors' performances changed from take to take.

Real Time Note: This isn't the first movie to take place over a single unit of time (Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and the Johnny Depp thriller Nick of Time for example), but it does have the distinction of being the first feature film filmed in a single take as well. (Though there's been several takes filmed; but the one that audiences see will be a single complete take)

Premise: This experimental movie tells the story of the casting of a play in Los Angeles (by a producer played by Edson), even as earthquake aftershocks (!) shake the city.

Play Title Note: There are two different reported titles of the play-within-the-movie. Jeffrey Wells reported it as Bird Out of Louisiana, but the official site lists it as (scroll the following; be advised that it includes a profanity): Bitch of Louisiana.

Locations: According to the set report linked below, there were only four locations used for this movie: the Ticketmaster building, a house where two lesbians played by Salma Hayek and Jeanne
Tripplehorn live, a drug house, and the office of a therapist (played by Laurie Metcalf).

Filming: Production on this quite unusual movie started in Los Angeles on November 2nd, 1999 and should wrap soon.

Genre: Drama

Articles about the Filming: Hollywood Confidential (columnist Jeffrey Wells visited the Los Angeles locations and gives plenty of information and insight about and into this film); LA Times (Another good article from the filming)

Web cast Note: One of the scenes of the film includes a live

AOL Web cast (Note: though it's open to anyone who wants to participate, you have to be an AOL subscriber)

Official Summary Site: Sony

Official Site: Time Code 2000 (Most of the site depends upon high-bandwidth QuickTime video but there are still some things that lower-bandwidth browsers can look at in reasonable time.)

Review (**): This may be the definitive "art house" film of 2000, because Time Code is truly art, which as a movie, can cause some problems. This is a feature film experiment, from the way it was filmed (four digital video cameras simultaneously of one-take performances), to the way it's presented, with the screen quartered off so we can see what the four cameras filmed. It sounds like watching a security system, and though it takes some getting used to, I'd imagine that's what it's indeed like.


My experience was that I would be watching one or two screens of action, then I'd realize that say, panel 3 wasn't showing what I thought it would be anymore, which leaves me wondering what happened while I was looking elsewhere. The person next to me might've been looking at panels 3 and 4, but not panels 1 and 2... we had a different film experience.

That is a noble experiment, one I applaud wholeheartedly. Is it, however, something I can recommend everyone go out and lay down their hard cash to see? Ah, there's the quandary. Is the story told four times worth seeing once? Actually, it's only told once, just by four cameras. Most scenes in most movies are shot by more than one camera; the difference here is that we see everything at once, and the cameras keep rolling on some scenes after the story shifts elsewhere.

You'll notice up above that I gave this film two stars, which implies a "negative" review, but I'm not sure I can say I'm completely negative on the film itself, just on the story. To me, the story didn't live up to the potential of the experiment, and so I can't recommend the film. It's one of those "Hollywood satires", supposedly showing us what the business is like, but we've seen the stereotypes before, and better (The Player, for example). Most of the actors did well with improvising their lines and staying within character the whole time; some better than others. But for a good story worth remembering, I probably would've given this film upwards as film, but a lackluster experience as a story.

Greg's Preview Thoughts: One of the most discussed movements in film these days is the increased use of digital cameras, particularly by independent filmmakers, with The Blair Witch Project showing that a movie filmed in an experimental way can reach a wide audience. And so, acclaimed director Mike Figgis was able to get this film green lighted by Columbia, and attract a cast that includes Holly Hunter, Salma Hayek, and Kyle MacLachlan.

It should be interesting to see what a movie that has four simultaneous cameras running for its full length of 93 minutes. For the actors, it must've been quite a thrill to be involved with such an innovative concept. Of course, audiences don't always award innovation; but with a concept that appears to tie into the changing of the year in some way (both the title, and Figgis' interest in getting it released around New Year's hint at that), this one might catch people's attention. Regardless, as columnist Jeffrey Wells says in his interesting piece from the set (see link to the left), this is one that I'm looking forward to seeing.


Trailer Thoughts: (3/12/00) Sony has launched the trailer at their 2000 Preview site, and it's pretty much what you'd expect, though the noise of those four screens going on at once seems like it might be more than a bit confusing... we've definitely never seen anything like this before.

(4/3/00) The April 28th date is now slated for just NY, with other cities getting the film throughout the summer.

-m-



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Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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