Time to Kill (1989) Poster


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brief synopsis and criticism
lissener22 April 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Odd little film, though not as odd as it wishes it were. Unsubtle allegory: Nicolas Cage, in a surprising but successful casting choice (it's clearly an entirely Italian production; Cage is the only cast member who lacks an Italian or African accent), as Enrico, a lieutenant in Mussolini's army ("anti-fascist" is used as an insult), takes a SHORTCUT through the JUNGLE and LOSES THE PATH. While lost, he rapes Maryam, a native girl who then (get this) falls in love with him, and they spend a blissful honeymoon night in a cave. Awakened by hyenas, Enrico fires wildly, and a ricochet pierces Maryam's belly. His guilt is manifested, in the screenwriter's universe, by his growing suspicion that he has contracted Leprosy from Maryam. Hiding from his superiors, whom he believes want to shut him forever away in a leper colony and prevent him from returning home to his wife, he stumbles upon what he believes is Maryam's village, whose sole surviving occupant, Johannes, he believes to be Maryam's father. The disappointing thing is that his assumptions about the village and the old man turn out to be true, so the rest of the film deals with Enrnico atoning for his guilt in a very concrete--and therefore limited--way: the film has left the metaphoric and entered into the literal, so what began as Enrico's journey to self realization becomes, in the end, a simple payment of debt.
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Tempo Di Uccidere
D_vd_B7 September 2008
Tempo Di Uccidere (Time To Kill) by Guiliano Montaldo is a bit of a strange film, but it's good in it's own way.

I won't bother with a summary of the plot. Most that I've read gives the wrong impression and makes me believe that most people who wrote those didn't really understand the film. And you need to understand it to some level, even if you cannot describe for yourself what it's actually about. This film is strange in a "Once Upon a Time in America" way- only shorter.

Many 'Hollywood' stars (whatever that may mean...) have played in lesser known Italian productions. It's known that many actors who are past their prime or slowly rising to it do this. Cage was not yet a real star when this was made. I'm not a fan of him. He's very good in some roles (Raising Arizona, Bringing out the Dead) and weak when he plays the hero. I don't really know what to think of him in this one, but he sure doesn't portray the typical hero main character. This film could have done without him, but the fact that he starred may be the only reason this one ever made it to DVD.

The supporting cast is good. Not one of them looks fake and they act as if they are really there. Solid support.

I have seen 3 films by Montaldo (Marco Polo, Sacco&Vanzetti and this one) and I think he is one of the greater directors of this time. Unfortunately, nobody knows him. This movie was his last in a long time (a break of 19 years). I think that this movie might have failed at the office, but from the way it is done I think that for Montaldo it was a personal project that he really liked.

The production is great. It's always enough. The dusty army camps, the claustophobic cities and the magnificent landscape all play a great part. It all feels very real. In some scenes you can almost feel the heat. The sound itself is nothing special, but the music by Ennio Morricone is very good. It's not a piece that you will whistle when in the shower, but it sure works great.

So this movie looks, feels and sounds just right. It doesn't serve the lessons learned from it on a golden platter, but that may be the biggest difference between Hollywood and euro-cinema all around. It might sound strange to give it an 8 and not recommend it to people, but that is what I do. If you are looking for action; avoid this one! If you are looking for a well made Apocalypse Now in a different time and setting, but with a bit of similar journey into a 'state of mind'(sorry if this sound corny but I don't know what else to call it) you just might enjoy this one a lot.
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See why Nicolas Cage is "Nicolas Cage"...
Dante-2731 December 1998
This film was nothing spectacular or even above average. It attempts to show one man's world come down on him in a foreign land and turning against his own kind. While it never does accomplish its goal it does explain why Nicolas Cage is one of the best actors of this era. Even in this unknown film which was never released in American theatres, Cage still gives a stunning performance...in fact, perhaps one of the strongest of his acting career. If you truly appreciate Nic Cage as an actor you will truly appreciate his acting in this film.
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Strange surprise
vitachiel31 December 2008
This one is quite peculiar. Not in the sense that it is just another one of those Italian badly-dubbed, vaguely narrated movies with much over- and underacting, pretty landscapes and a musical score by (who else) Ennio Morricone. No, the strange thing is that it has Nicholas Cage in the leading role! I never understand why Italian directors feel so at ease with out of sync dubbing and providing a new voice to actors who don't speak Italian. I think sound, voice and language are very essential ingredients in film (but I am not an Italian). Cage still does a good job with someone else's voice and language and that's a true mark of the man's talent.

Although the story is a bit silly and far-fetched, Cage does a wonderful job portraying an outlaw soldier who thinks he's caught an incurable exotic disease.
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Know the people you live among
lib-422 October 1998
Set in Africa during WWI, this movie offers up a quandary- is the soldier who rapes the girl deserving of his possible punishment. The premise of the story- originally called "the Short cut" is that a soldier inadventently does harm to a native woman. It is only then that he discovers she may have had a disease. Cage is okay as the conflicted, guilty man- but the film never quite attains the degree of conflict it should from the character's crisis. It is a nice study of guilt and cleansing...
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Godawful acting by Cage
eavs23 May 2002
I haven't seen all Cage's works by any means but his acting in this one was truly awful. The other characters run the gamut of ability but, having most of the emotional scenes, Cage's scenes are just embarrassing to watch. He's certainly come a long ways in 12 years.
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Why was this film made?
briandarvell29 December 2009
Found an old VHS version of this film in my parents house so I thought I'd give it a go. Right from the start I wasn't expecting much from this film and I'm glad for that because overall the film was no good.

The acting overall was very poor, even for a Nicolas Cage movie. One scene with a radio controller stands out as being so pitiful that I found it hilarious that this scene wasn't cut. The first 30 minutes of the film had almost no developed plot and I didn't know what was going on.

The story itself had the possibility of being decent but either the director was just bad or was trying too hard to put his own unique touch on the style of the film. I managed to watch the whole thing but I won't likely ever see this film again.
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