Nick of Time

"OK"

Nick of Time Review


The experiment was this: Make an action/suspense movie that takes place in real time. That is, 90 minutes of film shows us 90 consecutive minutes in the lives of the hero and villains. Real time has been done before (see also Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, which is not only in real time, but has the appearance of being one continuous shot with no cuts). Real time has never been done quite like this.

In Nick of Time, director John Badham has taken a traditional three-act thriller and jammed it into a sparse 90 minutes. The plot follows accountant Gene Watson (Johnny Depp), now a single father of 7-year old Lynn (Courtney Chase). Arriving at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, Gene and Lynn are picked from the crowd by the enigmatic Mr. Smith (Christopher Walken) for a devious task. Smith gives Gene a gun and a little over an hour to commit a murder or else his daughter will be killed. The catch? The target is the governor of California (Marsha Mason). Watson then has to balance the life of his daughter with the far-ranging conspiracy he finds himself caught up in. And time is running out.

The main problem is that the plot is basically silly, because everywhere Watson goes, he finds another flunkie working for Smith. Even some of those closest to the governor are in on it, any number of whom could pull the trigger, certainly better than some accountant picked from the train station. But Smith's scheme is to frame Watson as a nut case so Smith can walk off scott free, and because Smith follows the flustered Watson around all the time, after 45 minutes you know he'd be better off letting Watson go and shooting the governor himself, just to end the hassle.

Good pacing and the experimental nature of the film tend to overcome the lack of an engaging plot. Of course, real time generally means dead time, and Badham does a good job at keeping things moving so you never get bored. I'm not sure what it says about the film, but keeping track of whether they're really on schedule with the frequent shots of clocks is as much fun as watching the movie itself. The numerous scares indigenous to the thriller genre are also plentiful.

Depp's acting is plain, and Walken hams it up until his character has become the typical complete joke that he's becoming well-known for. The horrid Roma Maffia, as Smith's sidekick, almost manages to bring the film crashing down, but she thankfully doesn't have enough lines to cause too much damage. Worth watching for is Charles Dutton as a crusty, disabled shoe shine man who becomes Watson's only friend and ally.

Given that Nick of Time won't be a smashing success, it'll be some time before the real time experiment is tried again. I'm looking forward to another one, though. But next time, folks, lets try to get some criminals that aren't so completely stupid.



Nick of Time

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd November 1995

Box Office Worldwide: $8.2M

Budget: $8.2M

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Gene Watson, Courtney Chase as Lynn Watson, Charles S. Dutton as Hucy, as Mr. Smith, as Ms. Jones, as Brendan Grant, as Krista Brooks, as Gov. Eleanor Grant

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.