Video Picks Archive

October 11, 2000
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <>

This week my picks are Timecode (2000 - ) and Rope (1948 - ).

This week, I have picked two films that belong in a very elite genre: the real-time, one-shot feature film. In fact, they are the only two significant films of this type, yet they were made over fifty years apart. First, coming to video this week is Timecode. This film was shot in one take with four digital cameras running simultaneously. Each camera's perspective is always visible by dividing the frame into four quadrants. In the film, Jeanne Tripplehorn takes her lover (Salma Hayek) to a Hollywood casting for an audition. Actually, Hayek is having an affair with an executive at the agency (Stellan Skarsgård), and we see what happens during 97 minutes of this afternoon. Within this bold experiment, writer/director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) manages to deliver a sharp, hilarious satire of show business. Also in this cast are Saffron Burrows, Holly Hunter, and Steven Weber, who all deliver brief, but highly memorable performances.
Full review from May 14, 2000

The first real attempt at this kind of filmmaking was in the days before you could load a two-hour tape into a camcorder and just start shooting. Alfred Hitchcock could only shoot about 10 minutes at a time to make the second film. Rope gives the illusion of one continuous shot by timing the cuts so that they occur on a fixed subject, which can be used to start the next shot seamlessly. The film is based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, which gives a fictionalized account of the Leopold and Loeb murder in real time. John Dall and Farley Granger star as the arrogant young killers who hold a dinner party where their victim and former classmate is a secret guest. This is not only Hitchcock's most experimental film, but it is also two important firsts for the Master: his first color film and his first film to star James Stewart, who plays the young men's cynical mentor. The one-shot approach is more of a gimmick here, and takes away from what could have been one of Hitch's best films, if it had been traditionally edited.

For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Timecode (2000)
Rope (1948)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Timecode (2000) -- DVD
Timecode: Original Soundtrack -- Compact Disc
Rope (1948) -- VHS Home
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