Sunday, April 28, 2002

Time Out (IMDB) (Netflix--na)
I knew this guy who graduated from law school, passed the bar, and never practiced law. Instead, he pursued an acting/writing career and did temp jobs to pay the rent, using a secretary friend at a real law firm to cover for him when Mom called ("he's in a meeting Mrs. Jones, I'll have him call you as soon as frees up"). He kept it up for years. The lead character in this French film goes much further, hiding his firing from his family for months by living in his car when he's supposedly on the road and keeping in touch via cell phone (presence-without-location being one of the many unanticipated benefits of wireless technology). He also finds some less-than-scrupulous ways to maintain an income. This might be a comedy premise, but it's not that, not at all.

As you might imagine, this guy lacks a sustainable business strategy, and his stress climbs along with the height of the house of cards he builds. The movie's lighting is cold and the music somber, and the performance is appropriately detached for someone who has checked out from the working world, although it's not as interesting as the acting in World Traveler (which has a much thinner plot, however). Pay attention to the ending--you might initially read it as Hollywood, but you'd be missing some nice ambiguity and irony notes.