‘Nick of Time‘ is a thriller film directed by John Badham, who also produced it. It was written by Patrick Sheane Duncan and released through Paramount Pictures.
Gene Watson (Johnny Depp) is a mild-mannered accountant returning from San Diego to Los Angeles with his daughter Lynn (Courtney Chase) following the death of his wife. As he is about to an appointment, he is intercepted by Mr. Smith (Christopher Walken) and Ms. Jones (Roma Maffia). They take Lynn hostage and tell Gene he has to kill a certain woman at a hotel. Gene is conflicted, wanting to help his daughter, but also not wanting to take a life. He tries to distract himself by speaking with various folks including a disabled war veteran named Huey (Charles S. Dutton) who polishes people’s shoes at the hotel. Soon, Gene realizes that his target is California Governor Eleanor Grant (Marsha Mason) and that he has become wrapped up in a conspiracy that could cost him the life of his daughter.
As far as the performances, Johnny Depp is on his best game. That goes for Dutton, Walken, Mason, and Gloria Reuben in her role as well. Everyone does a good job with what they have and tries their best to work within the context of the plot.
The film is told in a “real-time” fashion where we see Depp as Gene try to navigate this insane plot. The movie has a good premise and compelling characters, but it is how it is cut that is bothersome. It feels frantic, but not with the characters, with how it is edited. It is fast, too fast, and almost feels out-of-focus. This caused a dizzying effect where you felt whiplash as it travels down the plot. There was also this bizarre dream sequence that really destroyed the pacing of the movie.
There was almost the constant “hands-on” approach Mr. Smith took with Gene. He should have been in the shadows, only appearing in reflections, the shadows, or at the rarest moments. Instead, he is constantly there threatening and intimidating Gene. After a while, it started to get more annoying than fearsome. At times, I actually thought “not again” when he would appear, but again, from a place of annoyance and not worry.
Bottom line, Nick of Time is one of those movies ruined by “potential,” but steps over itself with its overbearing antagonist and frantic editing.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Strong foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Tell me why he’s dead.
Check out the trailer below:
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