Nick of Time
Reviewed by John Weber
Rating: 6.5 Beans
oncha just love movies set in "real time"? By "real time", I mean if the movie runs 90 minutes, the hero/heroine of our story has 90 minutes to find
the bomb, unmask the killer, unearth the missing chicken salad recipe, etc. Often, the movie draws some real suspense out of such a device.
"Nick of Time" uses real time as just that - a device. More on that in a moment. First, some plot. Gene Watson (Johnny Depp) and his young daughter arrive in L.A. via train. Suddenly, they are accosted by a couple of shady characters (Christopher Walken and Roma Maffia) who take his daughter hostage,give him a gun and tell him he's got ninety minutes to assassinate the governor of California (Marsha Mason...Marsha Mason?!?!?!) in a nearby hotel. If he doesn't...well, let's just say his little girl won't be watching The Disney Channel ever again.
Now you see where the real time element comes in. Director John Badham is about as subtle as Moe, Larry and Curly in reminding you. There are close-ups of digital clocks, secondhand clocks, clocks of different time zones - there's
even a shot of the bonus round of "The $20,000 Pyramid" shown. What, no shots of Big Ben or the giant stopwatch from "60 Minutes"?
Anyway, there's a whole conspiracy theory at work here (Walken figures Depp will be taken as a "lone nut"). Everyone's in on it - the gubernatorial security staff, the guv's hubby - except the governor herself, of course. Will Depp be forced to shoot the guv? Will his daughter buy the farm? How many times will Walken sneer "Kill her or your daughter dies"? How many clocks will be shown in close-up? Can you count that high?
Take a look at "Nick of Time" - it's the only movie I know where the fine staff at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel helps save the day - so tip 'em well when you stay there.
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