Almost by default, Mike Figgis' audacious experiment with the powers of digital video is one of the director's better efforts. The design of the film -- four continuous takes, onscreen at once -- virtually guarantees that something interesting will be happening at least 25% of the time. At its best, there's too much to absorb in one sitting. Figgis' choice of improvisers, however, proves to be a mixed bag. Stellan Skarsgård and Holly Hunter shine in scenes which require them to be honest, sardonic, and even tragic; Julian Sands and Salma Hayek, meanwhile, show a heretofore unseen comic side. On the other hand, femme fatales Jeanne Tripplehorn and Saffron Burrows essentially twiddle their thumbs for much of the film and overact when they get the opportunity to say or do anything. For all its claims of "invention," Timecode is actually conventionally engrossing: with its simplistic plot -- involving infidelity and insensitivity at a slick Hollywood production company -- the overall result is like watching a juicy soap opera through four grainy surveillance cameras.
by Michael Hastings review