8/10/16

NICK OF TIME - REVIEW


Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken star in Nick Of Time, a thriller from 1995 in which a man's daughter is kidnapped and he is then forced to assassinate a politician. The film was a flop upon its release despite the lead's star power and it remains one of Depp's most forgotten efforts.

The central premise is an intriguing one as we follow everyman accountant Gene (Depp) in real time as he attempts to get out of his predicament within the hour and a half time limit he's been assigned to do the job. Throughout the film, Christopher Walken's mysterious villain taunts him and watches his every move and he is genuinely intimidating. Unfortunately, this whole real time concept has been done before and since much better going as far back as Alfred Hitchcock's Rope to more recent examples including the 24 series and Phone Booth. This might explain why Nick Of Time evaporated pretty quickly as it comes off less like a theatrical blockbuster and more like a TV movie with a budget although it couldn't have been easy to pull off some of the more ambitious set-pieces.

The main problems lie with the script as the story doesn't throw enough big surprises at you and contradicts itself way too often. Gene never asks the obvious questions someone would ask in that situation, he's being followed constantly and yet Walken gives him tons of free time which doesn't exactly help sell the urgency of his task and it's never quite clear how the bad guys' plan was supposed to work exactly. Maybe the film should have moved around a bit instead of being confined to this one hotel setting as that would have, at least, kept the tension going. As it stands, it's a bit more sluggish and uneven than it should have been with the ending falling surprisingly flat. That said, Walken is excellent and the whole thing is entertaining enough that you want to see what happens.

It's easy to see why this didn't exactly shake the Earth at the box-office as it lacks the energy and the twists and turns to make it a truly exciting, nail-biting thriller. It's not a bad movie, however, and it definitely has its moments so you won't regret sitting through it.

Mostly forgettable effort.

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