Nick of Time Reviews
- No, kisses to you!"
John Badham, the director, has had some moderate success in the 70's and 80's. 'Saturday Night Fever', 'War Games' and 'Stakeout' just to name a few. Nowadays he's making a career at the TV industry and I'm pretty sure that 'Nick of Time' has something to do with it...
Don't get me wrong! This movie has some good elements. First of all comes in mind that the movie is shown in "real time". I can't really think of that many movies that are made like this. 'Vantage Point' and 'Phone Booth'? And of course now Jack Bauer on TV in '24'...
But the problem with this movie is that it doesn't fee like a movie but more like a 90 minute long TV film. It doesn't have "big screen" written on it. The action is pretty lame and there's like no tension at all. And come to think of it, the story ain't that good either...
But what saves this film from sucking ass is Christopher Walken. He manages to overact once again but in a good way... Like always. Johnny Depp shows glimpses of his star ability but the rest of the cast are mostly unknown to me or familiar from different TV shows. Don't get me wrong (again), I like good TV just as much as the next guy but this isn't a film that should be given major release because it just doesn't have the key elements for that.
So, in my opinion, 'Nick of Time' is recommended only for Depp or Walken fans.
The people who made "Nick of Time" did a brilliant job in making the film suspenseful with the frequent showing of clocks and the great score of the movie. The music and sound effects couldn't have been better for the movie. "Nick of Time" is also well acted by everyone, especially Christopher Walken, Johnny Depp, and Charles S. Dutton. I think "Nick of Time" is one of the most underrated movies of the 90's. It doesn't get the credit that it well deserves. If you like great suspense movies, I definitely recommend getting "Nick of Time." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. The critics didn't really like it, but I thought this was an underrated movie, especially for Depp, and a suspense film that succeeded.
As the basis for a thriller it doesn't quite work - the real time concept falls apart a few times, but with this much talent on board it still holds it own. A throwback to the Hitchcock everyman thrillers of years ago, Depp plays his character well and you always believe he is just an ordinary man in an unbelievable situation rather than an action hero in the making while Walken does what he does best and plays the villain well.
The plot holds together well and you really find stuff out at the same time as Depp does. Some of the conspiracy stuff towards the end of the film is obvious and doesn't add anything to the film, but the main story revolving around Depp and Walken is tense enough to carry the film.
It doesn't contain any explosions or martial arts but the tension is good throughout. It's not a classic thriller but it's quite an original idea and plot and nearly manages to keep the tension for the whole movie.
Right out of the gate, during the opening credits, this film portrays the mechanics of a firing gun, set to some awesome music. At that point, even if you're cynical about this film, you're pumped up, ready for some hardcore thriller action. Still, as you go along, you come to realize that this film... well, is actually pretty exciting, but that's not the only convention this film falls into. Now, the storyline, while nothing terrible unconventional, still has some uniqueness to it, but just because something is unique in concept, doesn't mean that it doesn't have to be unique in execution. Now, the screenplay isn't plagued with terrible dialogue, a total absence of character development and overall stupidity, but it's still somewhat generic, and even worse, rather underwhelming, particularly in the development department, for although development isn't completely absent, as I said earlier, there's still not enough of it for us to latch onto these characters and storyline, landing a heavy blow against the compellingness. I'll be the first to admit that the film has plenty of points of tension, but there's not enough of those points to power the story past its genericism and underwhelmingness, ultimately leaving it somewhat forgettable. Still, while you're in the heat of the moment, it's not like the experience of watching this film is a painful one, for although much of the film lacks uniqueness, the film does make its fair share of good moves, some of which are, in fact, somewhat unique ones.
If nothing else, the film is entertaining and well done in some aspects, from a solid score with a Danny Elfman sound, only with more pump, to enjoyably surrealistic sound design tricks, both of which do contribute to the tension within the film. Still, what you'll notice and enjoy out of the film all throughout it is its style. Granted, the lighting gets to be rather messy in some settings, but on the whole, the cinematography is lively and gritty. It's hard to fully lock into this film, what with its underwhelmingness, but if you can get some grip on things, be careful not to let go, because there is constantly something going on, and although this film's style isn't as effective as it could have been, it remains one of the two most significant sources of the tension and what compellingness there is. The other most significant source of the compellingness is, of course, Johnny Depp, playing his ever so rare "every man" role, and doing it pretty darn well. I find it funny that on the few occasions where Depp plays an every man, he's always caught up in some crazy situation most of the population will never face, but if we were to face a situtation like our lead, Mr. Gene Watson, does, there's no way we wouldn't be going through a lot of panic, a lot of confusion and a lot of questioning of what to do next, and how to get out of this sitatuion, and Depp nails it like a board with charisma and stong, subtle emotion, defining anything and everything about his character and the situation that he's put in so effectively, that nothing more than a slight eye shift will hit you clean in the gut. Sadly, Depp can't carry the film past its flaws and underwhelmingness, but earlier, when I joked that the only reason to remember this film is for that "waste of time" joke some guy made, I was pulling your leg like a quarter horse, because really, outside of its style, watching Depp's brilliant portrayal of this everyday guy's frantic struggle to find some way out is not just the biggest thing to remember out of this film, but the biggest reason to watch it.
When time runs out on the film, your memory of the film all but runs out too, thanks to the genericism and underwhelming execution of a potentially unique concept, but what keeps you going with the film, as well as after it, is its slick style, as well as Johnny Depp's powerful and believable portrayal of a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, ultimately leaving "Nick of Time" to stand as a generally entertaining and tense thriller.
2.5/5 - Fair