Timecode divides the screen into four parts and follows, in four uninterrupted shots, a series of overlapping stories. There's the wife (Saffron Burrows) of a movie producer (Stellan Skarskård) who's considering leaving h... more »im; the producer is having an affair with an aspiring actress (Salma Hayek); and the actress is the lover of a wealthy woman (Jeanne Tripplehorn), who jealously plants a bug in the actress's purse when the actress pretends to go to an audition. Meanwhile, the producer's partners and employees (Holly Hunter, Xander Berkeley, Steven Weber, and others) are trying to cope with the producer's increasing instability. There's a drug-dealing security guard; a dim massage therapist; a temperamental director who can't find the right actress; and assorted other Hollywood types who float in and out of the action. Earthquakes and aftershocks shake things up, a lot of cocaine is snorted, and there's some sex and some violence, all improvised by the actors around a story set up by the director, Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas). The emotional effect of any story is muted by the constant distraction of trying to take in four screens at once, though at times the stories resonate off each other nicely. It's an interesting experiment, made possible by the portability and longer takes of digital cameras; anyone interested in how digital technology has affected filmmaking will want to see this novel film. --Bret Fetzer« less
Jeff V. (burielofmel) from HARRIMAN, TN Reviewed on 4/3/2011...
I was intreeged by the ideal of having four screems going on at the same time. But boy was this a peace of crapola.
Kerr | Toronto, Canada | 10/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"4 digital cameras. 4 quadrants. 4 continuous shots. All in real time. All improvised. Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) is definitely one of the most innovative directors out there. And that's what makes the film worth seeing. It wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be to follow all four quadrants at the same time. Figgis turns the volume up on the shot he wants you to pay attention to. The cast does a fine job, although I'm not exactly sure what Salma Hayak is doing in this company. Stellan Skarsgard is great as usual. Jeanne Tripplehorn is literally on screen in a continuous shot for the length of the film and she is fantastic. Look out for Holly Hunter, who has very little screen time, but who gives her character more depth than this film deserves. The reason I only gave this film 3 stars is that it didn't engage me. Watch it for its stylistic qualities and not for its story. I recommend the DVD format. After all, digital cameras deserve digital video."
A grand cinematic experiment in a time of me-too productions
Jeremy Heilman | Brooklyn, NY USA | 09/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"True, Mike Figgis' great experiment is not an unqualified success, but it's so far from a failure that it deserves recognition. The split-screen shooting, which initially might seem a gimmick, quickly becomes a revelation. (I remember audibly gasping the first time two images combined to form one.) Few commercial directors are as actively trying to redefine and reinvent the form as Figgis. Gimmicks/innovations aside, the film is a hilarious send up of both Hollywood-style politics and Altmanesque busy narratives. The DVD version features perhaps the best use of the technology yet, allowing the viewer to see an alternate take of the entire film, and freely switch between soundtracks."
Great Indie Film - Loved It.
turtlex | PA USA | 03/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Time Code is an excellent example of what film can and should be. It's definitely an experiment that the affordability of digital video allows. Shot on a Sony digitial video camera, Mike Figgis has woven a great story. The screen is split into four separate quardants, four intertwining, and simultaneous, storylines. I defy you to follow a single set of characters. Figgis uses sound to draw you through the story, raising and lowering the levels of different quads he'd like you to be looking at. It's excellent filmmaking. It is a challenging watch, but not as hard to follow as you might think. This excellent DVD version has an entire other "version 1" of the film which even features different actors. It's great fun. Highly recommended to the Indie Film Fan. Best regards, turtlex."
emeraldavatar | Jersey City, NJ United States | 02/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Film is an art form. Sometimes. Timecode is art. Its story reminds me of an Altman movie (one of the old ones, from when he knew what he was doing), but presented in real time and split into four points of view presented simultaneously. For the first ten minutes or so, it's difficult to follow the four screens, but it's not as confusing as you might think. The stories are touching, although they could have been tightened a little bit - at times it looks like the actors are drowning in improvisation. Most of the time, however, things flow beautifully. The stories are great, just don't expect them to be all wrapped up neatly by the end of the movie. They're more like "slice of life" stories. A few people have criticized Timecode for the fact that a boom and a cameraman's hand intrude into the shot during the movie. Come on - we're talking about four cameras moving simultaneously around a bunch of improvising actors for two hours at a time! It is utterly impossible to expect a perfect shot under these circumstances. Plus these people are totally missing the point. One final note - the DVD includes an alternate take which, as I understand it, is a complete alternate version of the film. I can't wait to see this."
Compelling breed of movie voyeurism
Gypsy Gies | Austin, TX USA | 01/22/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had a great deal of fun with this video. I rented in on VHS, and am now buying it (DVD for the soundtrack control). I watched the film twice over, and caught so many more things the second time than the first. The first part of the viewing you spend trying to figure out how all these characters connect to each other, and then you relax into the flow of them popping in and out of various corners of the screen. Amazing timing ...just Amazing timing for one-take. Julian Sands' entire purpose in the film seems to be to distract the other actors and see if they get lost. This makes his background-character entertaining. I found myself backing the film up several times in certain places because as I was paying attension one thing, I suddenly realized the scene was slowly changing in another corner and I was like "wait a minute...what's happening over _there_..?". Over-all, the four simultanious corners of action are not that hard to follow. Mike Figgis uses sound to take you every place you need to go to figure out what is happening. I found the performances of Jeanne Tripplehorn and Saffron Burrows particulary well done. Both are on screen through most of the film and keep up character perfectly. Not a film for people who do not like to use their mind while watching. Mike Figgis does not spoon-feed his viewers (thank you). All in all very inventive and well done !"