Timecode

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Saffron Burrows, Salma Hayek, Stellan Skarsgard

Director: Mike Figgis

TIMECODE is best described as an experimental film as it uses a split screen technique and was shot in a continuous take. In fact it was actually four continuous takes as the screen is split into four equal parts. The actors has to largely improvise around a premise given to them, and were filmed using four digital cameras each following the events that would finally come together to reach a single climax.

Saffron Burrow’s character meets with her psychiatrist while a few doors down the street a meeting in a film production company takes place involving her husband. A casting session is taking place in the same building while another camera follows Salma Hayek’s character travelling to the audition in a limo with her lover, who in turn suspects her of having an affair, which she is in fact having with Saffron Burrow’s character’s husband, who owns the film company which is holding the auditions!

A clever little plot which would work well in a regular single screen format, and it works here in four split screens, just not as well. The problem is a lot of not very interesting things are taking place on various parts of the screen as we are ‘guided’ via an increased sound level by the director to follow the events happening on a particular screen at a particular time. Occasionally something more interesting is happening on a screen where the sound mix has been turned down, but this may just be because the one we are supposed to be watching at that time is just not holding our attention.

I don’t mean to knock the film too much because it is a very clever and innovative filming technique, and the actors deserve a lot of credit for what they do, it just did not do anything for me.

Salma Hayek’s part is certainly the most entertaining, and if anything this film draws to our attention what an underrated actress she is, followed by Saffron Burrows who also deserves additional credit for her performance.

Overall though this is a very interesting movie from a production perspective but as filmed entertainment – forget it!

1 out of 6 stars

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