Time Code

Rated: R
Stars: Jeanne Tripplehorn, Salma Hayek, Stellan Skarsgård, Saffron Burrows

Director-screenwriter Mike Figgis is handing us a whopper of innovative filmmaking through the use of a split screen times four in “Time Code”. The problem is, technique can never be more important than the story in a good film. And in this case, all you’re really watching is technique rather than character development or story. “Time Code” is not an example of a good film. It’s barely watchable and I really had no patience for his experiment.

Roughly four different sets of characters/actions are taking place all at the same time. It was shot on video and the actors improvised within the scene structure that was given them. And it’s rather obvious because the actors tend to ramble. We are expected to be able to pay attention to all four screens simultaneously but are drawn to one or the other more so when the audio heightens of lessens. It takes a while to get used to. Still, after about 45-minutes of bouncing my attention back and forth, I didn’t give a hoot about anything or anybody and so it went. This is a director’s movie because the acting is surely lost to the technique.

Jeanne Tripplehorn (Lauren) plays a rich lesbian in a relationship with Salma Hayek (Rose) and they spend a lot of time in the back seat of a limo with Tripplehorn’s character chewing gum, squirming and smoking most of the time; Rose, an aspiring actress is having an affair with Alex Green (Stellan Skarsgård), a film production company owner who’s married to Emma (Saffron Burrows) who spends a lot of time just hanging around. Fellow production executives include Holly Hunter, Xander Berkeley, and Steven Weber. Richard Edson as a lunatic independent director on hand as comic relief and Julian Sands portrays a massage therapist who looks as if he never gave a massage in his whole life.

The actors stage their scenes separately and occasionally interact until the great convergence at the end.

Lotta says “Time Code” is a big, big bummer and a big waste of time.