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Timecode (2000)

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Four frames of simultaneous action that alternately follow a smitten lesbian lover as she obsesses over her partner's dalliances and the tense goings-on of a Hollywood film production company.


Mike Figgis


Mike Figgis (story)
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Xander Berkeley ... Evan Wantz
Golden Brooks ... Onyx Richardson
Saffron Burrows ... Emma
Viveka Davis ... Victoria Cohen
Richard Edson ... Lester Moore
Aimee Graham ... Sikh Nurse
Salma Hayek ... Rose
Glenne Headly ... Therapist
Andrew Heckler ... Auditioning Actor
Holly Hunter ... Renee Fishbine
Danny Huston ... Randy
Daphna Kastner Daphna Kastner ... Auditioning Actor
Patrick Kearney Patrick Kearney ... Drug House Owner
Elizabeth Low Elizabeth Low ... Penny - Evan's Assistant
Kyle MacLachlan ... Bunny Drysdale


The primary story with this movie is that it is shown in four simultaneously filmed ninety-three minute single shot takes (in other words, shown in four quadrants), with the actual plot secondary. The four cameras follow the players involved, with two or more of the four cameras sometimes filming the exact same scene from different angles and thus different perspectives. The audio on each of the four quadrants is turned up and down based on which quadrant(s) the viewer should pay most attention to at any given time. The actual plot, which takes place in Hollywood, involves the pre-production by Red Mullet Productions for the movie "Bitch from Louisiana". The production team is in an executive meeting to discuss several aspects of the movie, including problems with one of their own, Alex Green, who has been missing in action from much of the production and this meeting. Alex's problems stem from his substance abuse and philandering, his wife Emma who is contemplating leaving him, of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Four cameras. One take. No edits. Real time. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use, sexuality, language and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

28 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Time Code See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,148, 30 April 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$945,041, 11 June 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film was written on music paper, exactly like a string quartet. Each bar line representing a minute. See more »


Cameraman reflected on an elevator door as he follows Emma after the therapist sequence. See more »


Alex Green: This is the most pretentious crap I've ever heard.
Ana Pauls: What?
Alex Green: I'm sorry.
Ana Pauls: I'm sorry, could you speak louder, please?
Alex Green: Do you think anybody sitting around this table has a clue about what you're talking about?
Ana Pauls: No, but it's time to educate people.
Alex Green: You know, we think, "This is crap, but we'll do it for you, and then you do our crap." And that'll be the deal.
Bunny Drysdale: Alex, you are way out of line. I brought Anna here and I brought Joey here, and I expect some respect. You're way out of line.
Alex Green: Come on, Bunny...
Ana Pauls: I ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was transferred from digital video to film stock for theatrical presentation. The video release, however, uses the original digital video picture format. See more »


References Rope (1948) See more »


Main Title
Written by Mike Figgis & Anthony Marinelli
Performed by Mike Figgis & Anthony Marinelli
Produced by Mike Figgis & Anthony Marinelli
See more »

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User Reviews

The title gives the game away.
21 April 2001 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

"Timecode". What does this have to do with the content of Figgis's film? As we discover towards the end, without any chance of our being mistaken, nothing. It must be a reference to whatever device Figgis used to synchronise his actors. And that lets us know where his interests lay: in filming four simultaneous, 97-minute takes - certainly not in telling a decent story.

This lack of concern for anything except the technical challenge - we don't even get a sense of exhilaration at seeing Figgis pull it off - could not be more naked. On four occasions, there's an earth tremor. How do these little earthquakes help the film or the viewer? Not in the least - but it helps Figgis synchronise his actors. (Can you think of a LESS creative way of working a necessary synchronising device into the - cough - story? I can't.) Characters from different frames bump into one another now and then, and sometimes this serves an artistic purpose. Equally often, however, it doesn't. The characters aren't interacting; the actors are reminding one another which bit they're up to.

And here's the moment that really gives the game away. Towards the end, in the two bottom frames, we see a young director pitching her idea for a new kind of movie - and it turns out that she wants to make "Timecode"! Wow, self-reference! The last, and this case probably the first, refuge of the creatively bankrupt. I wanted to swear out loud. I'd been waiting over an hour for some payoff, some tiny sign of confluence between Figgis's four-frame device and the (cough) story he was trying to tell with it, and THIS is the best he could do? To add insult to injury, the movie our young director was pitching wasn't QUITE "Timecode". It was better. It had music by Hans Eisler, for one thing. (Apart from the melody sung during this pitch, the music in "Timecode" is banal, and it's used with a ham-fisted incompetence that has to be heard to be believed.) Also, our young director had a neat idea. She wanted to adapt a Borges story in which an old man and a young man meet, chat, and gradually discover that they're the very same person, at different stages of his life. "Each of the four main characters," continues our young director, "will be the same person, at a different stage of life." At this point our eyes scan the four frames to see if this is true of "Timecode", at least metaphorically. No, it isn't. Not even metaphorically. I felt like beating my head against the chair in front of me. Why was I watching Figgis's wretched movie? I wanted to watch HER movie!

As the young director points out, this kind of thing is the offspring of digital technology. Well, not quite. Alfred Hitchcock came up with the idea of a film without cuts in the 1940s, and more or less put it into practise with "Rope". It goes without saying that "Rope" is far superior. The irony is that it's also far truer to Figgis's avowed ideal of perfect continuity. In "Timecode" a vertical slash and a horizontal slash divide the screen into four. EVERY FRAME is cut into pieces - Hitchcock merely had a discreet, and to the best of his ability invisible, cut every ten minutes or so. (He also had a story, but I should stop harping on that.) Talk about a bad bargain. And it gets worse. The digital technology that makes Figgis's inferior vision possible also makes every frame look ugly. Add the fact that nothing worth looking at is going on in any of them, and what do we get? Instead of one good thing, a choice between four worthless things.

It may not have escaped your attention that the last few years have produced a pretty poor crop of films. 1999 was the worst year in living memory - unless you were exceptionally old in 1999, and could remember the transition to sound - and 2000 turned out, contrary to all reasonable expectation, to be worse. Even regression to the mean gives us little reason to hope that 2001 will be any better. Yet every so often a film comes along that makes the future seem even bleaker. "The Blair Witch Project" promised us nothing but incompetence from the next generation of film-makers; "The Phantom Menace" let the world know just how successful a technically sophisticated, creatively barren rip-off could be; "Scary Movie" introduced us to the novel idea of comedy without any actual humour. "Timecode" is yet another depressing sign of things to come. I'm sick of them.

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