Nick of time (1995)

“Nick of Time” (1995)


space and time

I like this particular project, i like Badham a lot, generally speaking. He is usually able to build his films world around very contained environments, both in time and in space. Even in Saturday Night Fever this device was visible, in a subtle way: there we had a film that was about an era, a certain youth, in a certain portion of the world we can talk about time and space container in a pop culture sense. WarGames was also about this, chasing time was the excuse to increase tension, and build cinematically the suspense mood. Here we have the same premises as in WarGames, a guy has to do something in a short amount of time, otherwise something terrible will happen. The terrible thing to happen and the action he must fulfill are all located around the same city block, so all the development will move around that.

Here Badham has a stronger element, comparing to WarGames: he has Depp. We’re looking at one of the best current actors, here in a time where he was (even) more than today a risk taker. He tried many things, here is another one. Just looking at Depp is reason enough to watch this. He is one of the few actors who can carry alone the hole audience to make believable what might be questionable, and deepen his performance with the over layering of inner questions, here mostly associated with whether he should complete his “mission” or try to abort it: his daughter vs doing “the right thing”. It’s rather repetitive material, but the question with Depp (and great actors) is never on What but on How.

I could not stop wondering what De Palma could have done here. 3 years after this one, he directed his very personal Snake Eyes, one of his essays on cinematic eye behavior/movement. There, De Palma’s cinematic sensibility was collecting the fruits of his careers experiments in moving camera and eye work, but all the rest was so lame, acting, even some scriptwriting (all the writing that wasn’t under de Palma’s preoccupations) that the experience lost something. That same improved script with Depp could have thrown it yet to another level. Pity Anyway, John Badham is competent enough to make this worthwhile, and he can move around. Walken is (as usual) over the top, he is the tough “smart with words” guy, has usually good recognition from the audiences, but he is not what i enjoy. Nevertheless overall this is a good experience. Try it if you haven’t yet.

My evaluation: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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