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|Index||60 reviews in total|
In "Time Out," the acting and writing are superb, the camera work always interesting, and the cello score haunting and melancholy. It is an oversimplification to say that this intelligent movie is about losing one's job and going to unethical extremes to make ends meet, for it is nothing less than a penetrating look at the conformity, alienation, and spiritual emptiness of modern life and how one man rebels against it. Vincent Renault doesn't simply get fired. He courts his firing because he is sick and tired of the shallow yuppie grind, his responsibilities to his young family, and the unrealistic expectations of his affectionate but controlling wife, his overbearing father, and his affluent circle of friends. He has experienced a crisis of confidence following a gradual loss of meaning, and for a guy who "functions on enthusiasm," it's too much to bear. He thus appears to be singularly unmotivated to deal with so-called reality. All he wants to do is "drive around, smoking and listening to the radio," with no obligations to anyone but himself. Sleeping in his car yet in constant touch with home by cell phone, he maintains the illusion of continued employment as a traveling consultant for the French company that terminated him because he can't face the disappointment of his family and friends nor stand up to their renewed pressures upon him. Knowing this facade of normality can't last for long, he invents an exciting new career in Switzerland, somewhat removed from their prying eyes, but the ruse only pushes him deeper into a self-destructive web of lies. Borrowing a large sum from his father "to get set up" and defrauding old acquaintances, he sidesteps the growing concern and suspicion of his wife and avoids the wide-eyed, vaguely accusing stares of his spoiled, middle class children. As he explains to a sympathetic Swiss hotelier, a worldliwise smuggler of cheap knockoffs, he is simply trying "to win some time" before he must face the inevitable. When it comes in the form of a resolution to his dilemma, we sense that his troubled soul has not been palliated in the least.
"Time Out" is all about a family man, Vincent (Recoing), who loses his job, find himself adrift, and counters with some unusual behavior. This subtitled French film, new on VHS, adheres rigorously to a no frills reality milieu as it explores the character and the nature of one man's approach to unemployment. Those who expect blockbuster-level entertainment will likely be disappointed by this lean flick while those who have been-there-done-that may enjoy it more. Regardless, "Time Out" is a fine piece of work which simply pales next to many other films about much more interesting or exaggerated characters (eg: "Falling Down 1993"). Will likely be most appreciated by more mature adults into foreign flix. (C+)
Interesting study of a man (Recoing) who lose is job but pretend he's still
working. A look at how depressing life can be after a firing and how it's
difficult to deal with the people who surround us.
Aurélien Recoing is excellent in his role, so his Karin Viard. Film sometimes moves a bit slowly but still captivating. What's next you tend to ask yourself.
Out of 100, I gave it 81. That's good for *** out of ****.
Seen at the Canada Square Famous Players Cinemas, in Toronto, on May 21st, 2002.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Never work", sang Luke Haines last year on the unjustly neglected "Oliver Twist Manifesto". It could be the theme tune to this movie. Except that, being a French existential drama, it opts for gloomy, downbeat strings to accompany its images of figures wandering aimlessly through the snow, rain and fog that no doubt symbolise their confused and mysterious lives. What is the point of going to work anyway? Apart from free internet and e-mail, that is? What are we doing, selling our time, our very lives, our very souls, to put bread on the table, keep a roof over our heads, etc.? What would happen if we didn't bother? Well, in French movies, what usually happens is angst. Big buckets of angst. Don't go see this if you're expecting hellzapoppin comedy and hi-jinks. Do go and see this if you're expecting something thought-provoking, eerie and strangely disturbing. Oh, and rather long. Which is not to say that it's dull. It is in fact consistently surprising in a very quiet sort of way. It's also very involving. Its length ensures that each character is fully realised and that the audience really does care what happens at the end. Even if, at times, it feels like the end will never arrive. The questions this film asks do not get easy answers. The resolution, when it finally arrives, ought to be positive and uplifting. Instead, the lingering close up on the hero's face makes it feel like death and betrayal and pointlessness. The song-and-dance numbers, the custard pie fights, the juggling unicyclists, the cartoon interludes, these would only distract from the sedate and mournful tone of the film, so thank God they didn't make it into the final cut. What we are left with here is a film that is truly in mourning - for its hero, whose soul has quite clearly died many years ago, and for all of us, perhaps, going through the daily grind until retirement or death or the lottery. We could all jack it in at once, of course. If everyone simultaneously stopped going to work we could change the world. It's a nice idea, but it'll never work.
A short way into this film, we thought it moved along like some parts of Solaris that had been cut out in the intrest of brevity. But, I pointed out to my wife that the last two films we had seen were 28 Days Later and Boondicks Saints, so we at least ought to stick with a pitcure that at least had some redeeming qualities. So we did, right to the end, which came 20 minutes later than promised on the rental box. I was somewhat disturbed by the end, which I will not spoil, but felt it might have been tacked on as one of those alternative endings for people who didn't like the original cut.
Vincent, fired from his job several months ago now, is still lying to his family about work. He has a new job working for the United Nations, he says, helping Africa. He spends most of his time driving around late at night and sleeping in his car, desperately afraid to go back to his wife and three children. Meanwhile, he develops and executes a plan to fleece a few old friends, and also his father. This plan isn't especially well thought out, though, as Vincent doesn't seem to know exactly how he's going to get away with it all. This is actually one of the faults with Time Out: so much time is spent on Vincent's dirty dealings with these people, and nothing ever comes of it. And these sections of the film are really quite dull, pulling the good parts of the film down. The good parts are especially good, though. Whenever we see Vincent interact with his family, the film is pure gold. The acting is probably the best reason to see the film. Aurélian Recoing plays Vincent as a man about to collapse behind his warm smile. It will be quite a feat if any other performance this year is better. Karin Viard plays his wife extremely well. She does wonders with her facial expressions. Also really good is Nicolas Kalsch as Vincent's oldest son. He's at the age where he's still a kid, but he's growing more mature and independent. He looks and acts so much like Jean-Pierre Leaud in The 400 Blows that I imagine the director forced him to watch it and emulate it. He's still quite great in scenes where he has to stand up to his father. Extra points for the ending. I thought for sure I knew where it was heading, so it was refreshing to be wrong. 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Curious that one person discussed their total hatred of this movie
(because of the upbeat ending) on the message boards and got really
flamed for doing so. I wondered why was everyone going off on this
person because he hated the ending? If the ending was supposed to be as
he suggested...too unrealistically positive then I dislike it as well
because it would not be in keeping with the character of Vincent. Maybe
I am confused because I do not understand French and I was relying on
the English sub titles but I got the impression that the end was
actually very bleak because while Vincent is sitting hearing about the
job of a lifetime...he is also being told that he has to invest his own
personal moneys to have it work. I took that to mean that the job was a
scam on a bigger level that what he had perpetrated on his friends. He
said he wasn't scared because it was just more of the downward spiral
that he was obviously never going to get out from under. To me that
would be in keeping with his character...accepting a slow death. And
even if it was a great job he was in no position mentally to make the
most of it.
And oh I loved the cinematography!
The really sad aspect of this movie is how honest a reality this has become for many people in the world..with down sizing and out sourcing and the "Starbucks on ever corner of the road in the planet" corporate culture...ordinary people just do not matter a speck in the big scheme of things. We lived through the Dot Com bust here in the San Francisco Bay Area and many of our friends have never recovered financially. At one point 6 of our 10 best best friends were unemployed for eight months to over a year. They have all gotten work since but many are working at lesser paying jobs with little or no security. Add to that the fact that there jobs are not nearly as exciting as the old ones...driving to and from work can actually be the best part of their day.
Having forced myself to finish watching this tedious and poorly made film
only because I was viewing it with a friend--who however fell asleep 2/3 of
the way through--and then reading the glowing comments on this board, I find
myself baffled. What did I miss?
For me, the performances, with the exception of the role of the smuggler, were mediocre at best. The only halfway complex character was, again, the smuggler.
After twenty minutes of this interminable film, I felt like screaming from boredom. I wish I could have simply fallen asleep like my friend.
Note: I'm not being anti-Gallic in my assessment, which the fervent tributes of my fellow commenters leads me to suspect may even be irrational. My (ancient) college degree is in French, I love French culture, I deeply respect the country, its citizens, and many of its exports... But in honesty I just have to say this strikes me as possibly the worst film I've ever seen. (Until this viewing, the winner for all-time worst was "Signs.")
Time Out is not a great movie. It's a very beautiful movie, but not a great movie. I'll admit I loved almost every scene in this movie and most scenes haunt for several days, but the end result is something I've experienced too many times. I do respect and admire the evolution of emotional breakdown into horror rather than breakdown into violence the movie presents. Its too bad I spent so much time ready subtitles rather than absorbing the visual details of this carefully crafted piece.
The title, "L'Emploi du Temps", could have been translated as "Waste of
Time" instead of "Time Out" as far as I'm concerned. The acting may have
been excellent but an implausible story and two hours of boredom earned it
my waste of time award.
BTW my dictionary gives "Timetable" as the direct translation for "L'Emploi du Temps".
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