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Running Time was filmed in black and white, in real time, and seemingly takes place in one continuous, fluid shot. It's a little like Hitchcock's "Rope," but it's on location! Carl, an ex-con who sets out to rob the prison laundry system where he worked for 5 years (while in the pen), has spent ten years in prison planning the ultimate heist. Upon his release, he meets up with a high school buddy, who's made all the arrangements for the job, and rented him a hooker for his first encounter in a decade with a real girl. After picking up the safecracker and their getaway driver, they've got twenty minutes to pull off the perfect heist...but soon everything falls apart before Carl's eyes. He might still get the girl, though! Written by
Scary Mary <email@example.com>
Made in the same all-in-one-take method that Hitchcock (who is thanked in the end credits) created for ROPE, RUNNING TIME is actually more inventive on some levels. Hitchcock shot his film on a stage at Warner Bros., but Becker's is made out in the streets of Los Angeles. Granted, Hitchcock didn't have the highly mobile, lightweight camera equipment available to Becker, but it couldn't have been easy shooting RUNNING TIME (amusing, punning title) from moving cars and on Los Angeles streets.
The script is taut and well-written, and occasionally quite amusing as the hold-up men squabble amongst themselves during the robbery. The movie is also unexpectedly romantic in a tough, ultra-film-noir manner (the hero and heroine have sex before they recognize each other from high school).
Becker also varies the style impressively at times, from a rock-steady, documentary-style approach at the beginning, to a more surrealistic sequence during the robbery, as the camera shifts wildly from one perspective to another.
The film didn't have much theatrical distribution, and is evidently available on video only from the director, but video stores should stock it. This is one of those movies whose reputation will increase in the years to come.
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