The Time Being is one of those slow burning films that seems to take hold of one’s mind in a gentle unrealising way. The poignant undercurrent of the film would be nought, without the skilful persuasion of notable actors Frank Langella (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Robot & Frank, Superman Returns) and Wes Bentley (Lovelace, The Hunger Games, American Beauty).
Struggling artist Daniel manages to sell one of his paintings to wealthy eccentric Warner Dax who is elderly and terminally ill. After a request to deliver the artwork personally, Daniel hopes commissioned work will follow. He’s a little startled and confused when Warner asks him to film certain events, making odder and odder requests each time. His curious, caring nature leads him to probe further into Warner’s past, revealing a place of selfish regret that makes him rethink his own life outlook.
Langella as Warner is captivating, his ability to convey extreme self piteous loneliness is admirable. Although his story’s resolution is an unexpected one, it seems fitting and is a welcome change from the norm. After choosing to abandon his family in hard times, it seems whatever opulence he has accumulated has brought him no happiness. Daniel presented with a similar fate realises he is nothing like Warner, it seems as if he’s awaken from a dream and his family come into focus all at once, which is one of The Time Being’s most notable moments.
Director Nenad Cicin Sain, despite limited feature experience, manages to impress a beautiful fluidity with the cinematography. Outdoor scenes feel like living art, framed picturesquely, whilst the indoor sets have an elegance and symmetry that are appealing to the eye. The score complements each scene nicely, adding further emotional depth to an already bitterly gloomy plot.
Some may find The Time Being a little too snail paced to become fully immersed in, and the film runs the risk of losing audience focus. However, the visual feast the film offers up teamed with Langella’s graceful performance, make that little bit of extra persistence worth it.
Review Score: TWO AND A HALF (OUT OF FIVE STARS)
Duration: 85 minutes
Official trailer for The Time Being below: