Review: Time Now | Austin Film Festival 2021

Score: C-

Director: Spencer King

Cast: Eleanor Lambert, Claudia Black, Paige Kendrick, Xxavier Polk

Running Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: NR

A mystery with no real mystery, a thriller with no real thrills. About all Time Now has going for it is vibes. Filmed in a perpetually overcast and often derelict Detroit, it's appropriately gloomy, but that's about it.

Eleanor Lambert (daughter of Diane Lane) stars as Jenny, a newly single mom who returns to her hometown for the funeral of her twin brother Gonzo (Sebastian Beacon). Digging around in his apartment, she finds a photo of him cuddling up with a woman and an address. This leads her to a speakeasy, and theoretically, a more mysterious part of the town she left years ago. But the acting and the script aren't good enough to keep us compelled, especially since "the big secret" doesn't exactly change anything.

What does change is the film's final act pushes it from deathly dull to woefully misguided. Spending more time in Gonzo's world, Jenny meets Kash (Xxavier Polk), a rapper on the verge of his big break. He was close with her brother and has a tentative romance with her. They both seem to want it, but keep their guard up at all times. But like seemingly everything else in this town, their relationship is doomed. If they had chemistry, or if the film ended differently, there might have been something there. But Kash becomes the vessel for all of Jenny's anger, which is not a good look, given the racial dynamics involved.

Spencer King certainly has potential as a director, but he's not there yet as a writer. A flashback to the night of Gonzo's death seems to momentarily offer a twist on what Jenny (and the audience) have figured out. But then it chickens out, playing everything conventionally. It all culminates in an ugly finale that does nothing but finally put us off our protagonist for good. If you have time now, don't waste it on this film.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.