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Time Code (2000)
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Review Date: May 04, 2000
Director: Mike Figgis
Writer: Mike Figgis
Producers: Annie Stewart
Actors:
Stellan Skarsgard
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Salma Hayek
Saffron Burrows
Plot:
Follow the lives of various Hollywood types during a hectic audition day with a handful of behind-the-scene situations padded by various relationship dramas.
Critique:
This is a film which begins on a visually confusing note, eventually settles into its own and manages to seduce with its voyeuristic appeal, its talented cast and its sheer creative spirit. Oh yeah, and if none of that appeals to you, how about the fact that the film features two different sets of actresses swapping spit during a couple of the film's groovier scenes (Hayek and Tripplehorn go at it early, and later on, Burrows and Mann take a shot at the gold). But lesbianism aside, the movie is cool on various different levels, all of which transcend the initial shock of the visual, including some surprising comedy by the way of Julian Sands' overly competent massage therapist and Richard Edson, playing the neurotic director. Of course, the basis of the film is soaked in various intertwining relationship dramas, but it's nice to know that director Figgis doesn't take himself too seriously. He even features a pitch scene in which a woman presents an idea for a movie not unlike Figgis' own creation, only to be laughed off by a producer as "the most pretentious crap I've ever heard".

And despite it taking me a while to get used to the idea of four stories on the screen at the same time, it wasn't long before the volume controls began to work wonders, and I gelled right into the movie. Finally, a cinematic experiment that succeeds! Mind you, I wouldn't want to see movies like this all the time, honestly you have to pay about four times more attention than you usually do, but kudos to Figgis for pulling this one out of the hat. Of course, the film wouldn't have been such a success were it not for the extremely solid performances of its actors. Improvising most of their lines from a pre-established structure, all of the actors involved in the production seemed to take full advantage of their respective carte blanches, smacking many a ball out of the park. By golly, even Salma Hayek was really good in this (besides being a Goddess of beauty, of course). Give an award to Stellan Skarsgard for his amazing portrayal of Alex, the alcoholic producer, who slowly disintegrates before our very eyes, as well as Jeanne Tripplehorn, who surprised me with her strong showing. A great cast, a captivating story about pretentious Hollywood folk dishing their dirty laundry, a novel idea that works and lesbian make-out scenes. How could you go wrong? :)

Honestly though, if you think that an experiment as such is in your interest, you should definitely see this film on the big screen, since it will more than likely lose many of its subtleties on video. A few moments drag on here and there, but overall the movie works on all cylinders, and its running time of ninety-three minutes is ideal, considering its novel concept. So if you're not one to allow your mind to stray during a movie outing, this film is ideally created for you. Visually unique with an interesting narrative and a solid cast, this film has turned into one of the year's nicest surprises for me.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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