Reviewed by: Mehran Mehrabanpour
Starring: Aurelien Recoing, Karin Viard, Serge Livrozet, Jean-Pierre Mangeot, Monique Mangeot | Directed by: Laurent Cantet | Produced by: Caroline Benjo | Written by: Robin Campillo, Laurent Cantet | Distributor: ThinkFilm
Laurent Cantets second film, “Time Out” explores the area between who we are and what we do for a living. His first film, Human Resources has a similar theme with an ending that indeed suggests that without a job man feels useless, losing both identity and his place within society.
In “Time Out”, the protagonist Vincent, played with superb control by Recoing, has been sacked from his job but hasn’t the courage to let his wife and parents know. Instead he pretends to have a new job, much more prestigious than his previous, working for the U.N. in Geneva. Reality being that he sleeps in his car, kills time by driving long distances and haunts office blocks where people actually do work. As his money runs out, he gets friends to invest in a fictional scheme connected with his job. In his ramblings, Vincent encounters Jean-Michel who figures him out as a phony and decides to employ him for smuggling fake designer goods.
I won’t reveal any more, but I assure you that this film is very well measured, the subtle portrayal of a man who cannot face the truth of his situation. He believes all of his lies and drags everyone through the mire he creates. The questions “Time Out” raises are ones we all avoid: how much security do we take from our jobs? Without them, how would we answer “who are you?” How far would we fall? Would we suddenly begin to ask questions that we thought having a job—a role in society—answered?
Vincent’s story is based on a true-to-life saga of a Frenchman who carried his lies fluidly for over twenty years. Upon his exposure he murdered his entire family! Though this certainly does not happen in “Time Out” it is easy to see how denial and lies lead to an abyss not easy to climb out of.
The scene of sensuality mentioned in the MPA tag involves a kiss between a married couple where some nudity is present (upper). There is no sexual activity at all. Some slightly offensive language is used, but be aware that the film is in French with English subtitles.