Eye For Film >> Movies >> Time (2020) Film Review
Reviewed by: Stephanie Brown
Garrett Bradley’s intimate portrait of the Rich family’s dream to be reconnected with their husband and father who remains incarcerated for a bank robbery in the early nineties, beautifully glides through strength and despair as they pass through the emotions of injustice, hope, unwavering love, and unity. Bradley allows the Rich family to express the organic worldviews of a family separated by a system that will never truly divide and break them.
Fox Rich encapsulates the essence of emotional nudity, she bares the history and stories of her family life for all to see with no curtains to conceal the corners of her past collisions with the law, along with the legal and emotional problems that have dominated the last 20 years of her life. She campaigns against the legal system's systemic racism, raises six boys as a single mum, and strives to document the meaning of lost time in prison and the lost time as a free woman separated from a life with her husband.
Bradley’s direction emphasises the beauty of the Rich family’s resilience and humanity, with shots that carry the panoramic vistas of French New Wave and the hypnotic tones of underground cinema. There is an intoxicating fusion of the melancholy of the past and the optimism of the future, where fragments of both become entangled. Bradley allows the avenues of Fox’s life to set the harmonies for the views that accompany them - car journeys with her children as they move away from the scenery outside, with circumstances that remain stagnant, and phone calls left to hang on hold as the world continues outside the window.
The way that Fox guides the narrative embraces the delicate format of the subject matter with deep introspection and socio-political insight into the prison industrial complex within America. When the sentence outweighs the nature of the crime, it is difficult to establish trust in a system where punishment precedes rehabilitation. Fox and her mother often describe the system as similar to the immorality of slavery, where people of colour are subjected to unusually cruel treatment from the protected characteristics of race and ethnicity that much of society now falsely recognises as resolved. It is difficult to disagree with the issues presented in this documentary, and while our own subconscious conditioning of the monochromatic illusion of law and legality at times make us question the reliability of Fox as a narrator, it is impossible not to question the complexity of the ethics we accept as absolute.
Time is a deeply moving documentary that shines a light on the wounds of a family being lost in a time during years of uncertainty and judicial silence. Bradley resounds the truth of the hope, love, and scars that have moulded the Rich family’s quest for justice in the darkest of years.Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2021