Interview: Life After Keating
Industrial: That Friday Feeling
Bad Boss: Begging to Work
Organising: Project Pilbara
Unions: Off the Rails
International: Brazil Turns Left
Environment: Brown Wash
History Special: Learning from the Past
Corporate: Will the Bullying Backfire?
Technology: Danger Lurks For The Passive
History: In Labour�s Image
Politics: Without Power Or Glory
History Special: A 'Cosy Relationship'
Culture: Blood Stains the Wattle
Satire: Iraq Pre-empts Pre-emptive Strike
Poetry: The Executive Pay Cut
Review: Time Out
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Why The User Should Pay
More Bali Feed Back
Clean Election Laws Now!
And Now, Some Fan Mail!
Coming to terms with being sacked from a job would be hard for any person. But when you have a young family to feed and a wife that is depending on your consistent contribution, it becomes more difficult still.
So what is the best course of action to take? Should you rush home and tell all, hoping for some support? And would it be a good idea to get back out there ASAP and try and find another job? Or is there another choice.
Laurent Cantet's Time Out tells the story of one man who invents a new option.
Family man and former executive Vincent (played by Aurelien Recoing) chooses to set up shop in a lonely town called denial and simply pretend that he has been successfully headhunted for a new and exciting job at the United Nations.
Working harder to preserve his charade than he has possibly ever worked in his life, Vincent divides his time living out of his car and a small abandoned shack on a snow capped mountain while pretending to his wife and friends that he is working 'on location' in Switzerland.
Becoming a regular loiterer at the real United Nations building he studies in detail all the organisation's public information packs, committing them to memory so he can talk with authority about his pet pretend projects and argue convincingly with anyone who would question his 'employer's' effectiveness on the world stage.
Occasionally venturing back to the United Nations building, he sets up a scam to rip off thousands of francs from his would-be workmates until one man learns the truth behind Vincent's painted on smile. He puts his own dubious enterprise on the line to help Vincent get his feet back on the ground, putting instant faith in his new friend's inherent goodness.
But Vincent is not a man to be trusted, as he soon learns.
Time Out is a painful and insipid movie that stole more than two hours of this reviewer's life before flicking seven months into the future, to a time in which all of Vincent's employment problems appeared to be solved but none of the movie's other loose ends were even remotely tied up.
The fact that it treats Vincent's plight with such sympathy makes little sense in light of ongoing revelations that not only had he been offered a good job but did not take it immediately following his sacking, but that he was in fact dismissed over his total disinterest in doing a day's honest work in the first place.
There is no real justification for lying to his doting wife, who is tortured far more by her instinctual knowledge that he is deceiving her than she could ever be by the truth. And if maintaining his charade is more important than using this extra time to get to know his children a bit better, then where does this man's priorities lay anyway?
It is also a sad waste of plot that for all the energy Vincent pours into playing the role of a United Nations worker, he does not one positive thing with his self-indulgent game.
Despite studying the poverty suffered by African nations he never thinks of using his act for good. He never considers using some of his scam money to help anyone out, or setting up activities to involve his doting community in making a difference.
Throughout the film he has not one moment of true happiness and the fixed smile used to divert attention from his soulless eyes is grating, at best.
And the outcome for Vincent? Without a tad of irony he is offered a management position overseeing a very exciting project in a highly successful company. Perfect management material indeed.
Rating: 1 out of five - tops. (barely worth reading the subtitles)
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