Timecode 2000

Timecode 2000


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Experimental cinema has a tendency to overcompensate for the indulgence of the director. It is to Mike Figgis' great credit that he has achieved the near impossible with this quadruple split screen, digitally shot, improvised day-in-the-life of Hollywood movie folk scenario that tickles Robert Altman's toes and makes The Player look stagey.

Four scenes simultaneously act out, with the soundtrack switching from one to the other. Although each section contains its own emotional energy, the characters do eventually come together for a surprisingly uncompromising finale.

Copy picture

The plot centres around the offices of an independent film company where auditions are in progress for their latest soft porn production. The co-founder (Stellan Skarsgard) is incapable of functioning without half a tumbler of Scotch and a few lines of coke. "It's very hard to stop drinking when you're not at home."

Home isn't much better, as his wife (Saffron Burrows) regurgitates a heartload of disappointment over her therapist, like an aquarium fish starved of oxygen. Soon she will utter the mortal words, "Alex, I'm going to leave you."

Meanwhile, his bit-on-the-side, a Mexican starlet (Salma Hayek) is being verbally stripped down by her jealous lover (Jeanne Tripplehorn) behind the smoked glass of a black stretch limmo, as the indy board members (Holly Hunter, Xander Berkeley et al) discuss bizarre script pitches with incredulous seriousness.

A man (Julian Sands) in blue shorts walks among them, laying on hands. He is a rather special masseur, hyper sensitive to internalised tension and fluent in the jargon of the Californian new age. Every so often baby earthquakes rattle the screen.

Within the confines of this technically complex idea, Figgis has created a work of considerable artistic merit, as well as casting a caustic eye over Hollywood mores.

The performances are often exquisite. Tripplehorn, confined to the interior of a car, twists in the anguish of her jealousy. Skarsgard surveys the landscape of his life and shudders with tears and laughter. Sands tiptoes through the campsite of his imagination and discovers that touchy funny feeling. Hayek is beautiful. She is also hot-blooded, determined and a little afraid. Burrows remains sad, unaware, it seems, that she is part of a vibrant, brave experiment.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
Share this with others on...
Timecode 2000 packshot
Experimental film, using split-screen to tell its story about the day in the life of Hollywood folk.
Amazon link

Read more Timecode 2000 reviews:

Keith Hennessey Brown **1/2

Director: Mike Figgis

Writer: Mike Figgis

Starring: Salma Hayek, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Stellan Skarsgard, Saffron Burrows, Kyle MacLachlan, Holly Hunter, Julian Sands

Year: 2000

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2000

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Conversations With Other Women