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Time Out (2001)

Cast: Aurélien Recoing, Karin Viard, Serge Livozet, more...
Director: Laurent Cantet
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Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France
Running Time: 128 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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French director Laurent Cantet's sophomore effort is a somber and complex meditation on work -- specifically, how work has become the defining feature of the contemporary individual as well as the quintessential symbol of quotidian despair. The movie tells the story of Vincent (Aurelien Recoing), a middle-class family man recently fired from his drab, middle-management job. Unable to tell his family about his firing, Vincent spends his workdays driving around the French countryside --"business trips" he tells his wife -- keeping intact the reassuring routine of going to work and coming home to his wife and kids. As his family grows suspicious of his evasive behavior, Vincent is forced to spin a new tale, pretending to get a job working for the U.N. In a bid to keep the money coming in, he recruits old friends to invest in an imaginary emerging-markets investment scheme. Vincent also falls in with Jean-Michel (Serge Livrozet), a black market dealer whose ignominious past serves as an ominous warning for Vincent's present course. Despite his efforts to maintain an undisturbed surface, Vincent's wife begins to suspect something amiss. As the lies pile up and the questions from his family mount, Vincent loses control of his fragile double life, leading to a poignant conclusion. Cantet's film premiered at the 2001 Venice Film Festival. ~ Elbert Ventura, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

good concept but felt incomplete by nate September 20, 2004 - 12:15 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Everything the other (more positive) reviews here say is true, but this wasn't enough for me. This is not a film with much (if any) character development. We as the audience learn a bit more as the film progresses, but it doesn't seem like the characters learn anything. While the film brings up interesting concepts of family and fidelity, it doesn't really deal with them.

At the end of the film, I didn't feel like there were any characters whose actions I understood better than I did at the outset. Why does Vincent deal differently with being fired than others? What motivates the helpful smuggler/hotelier? What are the wife's ambitions? The parallels between Vincent and son versus Vincent and father are interesting, but what causes the friction in both cases? I wanted more.

highly recommended Mood Movie by AWalter August 24, 2004 - 12:51 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
When Vincent--a tall, quiet, morose middle-aged man--is fired from his job, he finds himself unexpectedly cut loose from society and set adrift from life as he knows it. Instead of looking for a job, he casually cons some family and friends out of substantial chunks of money in order to support his wife and three children while he spends week after week driving through the European countryside in winter. A subdued but unescapable tension builds for the audience as we continually fail to understand what motivates Vincent to risk so much, and this tension becomes only more profound when we realize that Vincent himself does not understand his actions. "Time Out" is a hypnotically sad story told at a measured, melancholy pace with a haunting musical score that circumscribes Vincent's strange, incomprehensible mystery.

Suffering to survive by AHidalgo August 17, 2003 - 1:36 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This film brilliantly portrays a man's anxiety at not being able to provide for his family and draw happiness out of what he does for a living. He has been laid off from work and is doing every possible thing to not let his kids and wife and father know that he is currently inadequate. The motivation of the secret life he is leading is concealed from the audience for quite a while similar to how the rape victim's responsive steps are in the great "Positive ID". What gives the film its power are the amazingly conveyed anxiety, exhaustion, and impotence in the lead's performance. Only one of two film I have ever enjoyed (the other an early Fassbinder not yet on DVD) about this subject of "suffering to survive".

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.17)
87 Votes
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