21 October 2008

Time Out

Having recently watched With a Friend Like Harry - a fantastic movie - and being lately immersed in spooky Gothic novels (Castle of Otranto: AWESOME. In the first few pages, a man is crushed to death by a gigantic floating helmet. If that doesn't win you over, what will?), I figured I'd continue the streak with Time Out, which purports to be a suspenseful psychological thriller about a man who gets fired from his job and can't bring himself to tell anyone, embarking on a strange double life. Netflix promised that it's "positively creepy". Well folks, it's not creepy. It's long and mostly boring and it took me a good three days to actually get through the entire movie because I kept falling asleep.

The thing is, there's not much to do with that premise. I mean, at some point, obviously, the truth is gonna have to come out. And it's kind of hard to really sympathize with the main character. Especially once he starts stealing money from people close to him. But the real problem is, the movie just drags on and on and I just wasn't at all invested in what happened next. At the same time, I felt compelled to watch it to the end, and I honestly can't say why. 

What is, I suppose, mildly interesting about the film is that on the one hand, you've got this unemployed guy who basically does nothing all day and is pretending to live this typical bourgeois existence. Not only is he pretending to be at work, but he's pretending to be there all the time, spending long hours away from home, witnessing his relationship with his son fall apart. In fact, he mostly fakes the most miserable aspects of gainful employment, the way it erodes family life. Meanwhile, the job that he pretends to have is somehow related to NGOs and developing nations in Africa. So it's kind of ironic in the Alanis Morissette-ean sense, that this guy who basically ought to be on welfare is pretending to be helping poor nations. 

The main character is totally opaque - it's strange, for a movie that seems to be invested in psychology, how little we actually understand his inner state. He's got this brick wall of a face that's completely impenetrable. I hadn't the faintest understanding of his desires and motivations. It just made no sense. Maybe that's what was supposed to be so creepy? But yeah, final answer: snore.

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