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Time Code

Director/Writer:Mike Figgis
Screen Gems; R; 93 minutes
Release:4/00
Cast:Alessandro Nivola, Holly Hunter, Kyle MacLachlan, Salma Hayek, and Julian Sands

There is something very special about a movie from which you can walk away saying "nothing really happened in the upper right hand section." This is the case with Time Code. Director Mike Figgis has produced Hollywood's first all-digital video film, a technological first more important for how it works than how it handles plot and acting. The screen is divided into four quadrants, an allegedly “real-time” portrayal of a loosely connected group of Hollywood executives, power brokers, and wannabes.

The lower right quadrant hordes the best scenes. Figgis focuses the viewers' attention by raising a section's voices up in the sound mix, but all eyes are free to wander. One or two suspicious fadeouts (where a section quickly goes black and begins again) hint that Figgis' boast of four unedited sessions may be publicity rather than factuality.

While it isn't the future of filmaking, Time Code suggests some directions people should and shouldn't go with digital video. Indeed, as high-quality images become increasingly easy to record and manipulate with cheaper digital cameras and editing software, Figgis' reliance on the authentic unedited experience seems oddly out of step with the many possibilities offered by the new format.


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