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Real Time (2008)

Real Time. Feature film. (2008, 80 mins) IMDB

...what do you do when you an hour to live?...

T

ake one last look at the world.

It's the line Reuben (Quaid) says to Andy (Baruchel) in Act III of this short, very shot film. The pistol in Reuben's hand is pointed at Andy's head. Indeed. One last look.

Except for Emily Dickinson, Woody Allen and me, not many people dwell on death. We know we're going to die at some point. The question is when, where and how. In Andy's case it's bullet to the head at 15h--compliments of Reuben. At least that's what the filmmakers what us to believe and yet we know there must be a twist to change the storyline and there is.

Andy is a deadbeat. A loser. If he died no one would mourn. No one would remember. The world would be neither better off or worse off. He simple exists in his miserable life. Because of ignorance, his lack of education, he believes there is such thing as luck--good luck, bad luck, shitty luck, fucking terrible luck. To him, nothing in his life is about what he does, it's about what happens to him.

The film begins with Andy studying a race form. He wonders if he should go to the race track and if so what horse to bet on. Along the way he stops at a variety store to buy a lottery ticket. No luck there and off to the race track except Reuben comes to take him away.

Reuben is an underworld figure who volunteered to kill Andy for his $68K in gambling debts. If it was about killing Andy, it would have happened in a minute and the film would be over. Can't have that. Reuben gives Andy a chance to settle his affairs before Andy's luck has completely run out. The clock is ticking.

For the rest of the film, it's primarily Reuben driving his car around this working class city with Andy. They talk and talk in a mostly philosophical manner about life. Reuben is trying to teach some lessons to Andy, but it surely must be wasted on him.

The twist? Reuben is dying from cancer. In the climax of the scene with Andy kneeling on the ground waiting to be shot, Reuben spills his guts with emotions about his own life. Cut away to a wide shot of the forest. Hear the sound of a gun shot echo across the field. Cut back to the scene where Andy is still kneeling, petrified. Reuben lays on the ground dead.

In Rueben's suit pocket is an envelop for Andy. It contains a bank draft for $68K. The amount to pay of his debt. Another chance for this deadbeat who probably doesn't deserve another chance.

The handwritten note says, "You're a lucky son of a bitch, Andy."

The film is billed as comedy. Can't say I found many scenes with humour. One or two at best.

And why did they use US cash, greenbacks, instead of Canadian currency when it's clearly shot in Canada with Canadian flags flying and Canadian words (e.g., pop). I don't get that.

Posted 2009/03/28 at 19h14ET in Movie Commentary.

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