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The Time Being (2012)

Not Rated | | Mystery | 23 July 2013 (USA)
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An artist meets a mysterious and wealthy benefactor and their relationship is not what it appears to be.


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Credited cast:
... Sarah
... Daniel
... Gus
... Eric
... Warner Dax
... Olivia
... Anjelica
... Winona
... Officer
... Marco
... Nurse
... Annette
... Henry


An artist meets a mysterious and wealthy benefactor and their relationship is not what it appears to be.

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Not Rated




Release Date:

23 July 2013 (USA)  »

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[first lines]
Warner Dax: There's a part of me that feels a man has gotta just do the thing that wakes him up in the middle of the night - thinks he can't live without - he can't survive without.
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Takes its time
8 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

Many years ago, a women's magazine featured a list of the sort of men women should avoid marrying. Heading that list were artists. The reason given was that artists marry to take care of all the basic and mundane things in their lives (possibly including sex) so that they can get on with what they really want to do - their art.

Although the article was slightly tongue-in-cheek, this beautifully made film bears the theory out perfectly.

Daniel (Wes Bentley), a struggling artist is having trouble supporting his family. When he delivers a painting to Warner Dax (Frank Langella), a wealthy old man he thinks could become a benefactor, his life undergoes a remarkable change.

At first, Warner commissions him to undertake a series of bizarre surveillance exercises, which seemingly have little to do with art. We suspect that there could be a malevolent motive behind this, especially when Daniel loses his job, and nearly his family. Eventually everything drops into place and we see that rather than a sinister figure, Warner is actually a mentor who offers Daniel a chance to lead a more satisfying life.

Apparently the film was made on a ridiculously small budget, but it doesn't show; low key and moody, the story unfolds at a measured pace.

The art in the film is woven into the texture of the story in a unique way. There is one painting of Warner Dax against a background of brambles, which makes a salient point about how the character sees his life. The names of the artists who executed the powerful paintings in the film appear in the end credits: original paintings created by Eric Zener and Stephen Wright.

Love of art shows through in every frame of "The Time Being", including the atmospheric score by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. In an interview, writer/director Nenad Cicin-Sain said that in his youth he had been involved in various forms of art, "When I was in my late twenties I formed a partnership with a painter who was ultimately one of the people who did a lot of the paintings in the film, underwater painting".

Presumably this was Eric Zener who provided the art for Wes Bentley's character. The bold figure work we see a little later in the movie, some of which seems like a modern take on the paintings of Lucien Freud, is by Stephen Wright. It's also worth noting that during the painting scenes, the actors seem to know their way around a brush and canvas, applying the paint in a convincing manner.

"The Time Being" celebrates the art of film as much as the impressive artwork within the story. It is a movie that sneaks up on you; I was sorry when it ended. Those who don't normally go for this sort of thing may find it a welcome change of pace.

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