In his low-budget first feature, filmmaker Chris Hart shows tremendous passion for the moving image. Similar care for the written word, however, would have helped.
Trying to raise enough money to flee an unhappy home run by an alcoholic father, in the absence of his mentally-ill mother, New York City youth Terry (Peter Byrne) reluctantly assists in theft, drugs, and gun-running. Racketeer Tommy (Michael Griffiths), Terry's regular employer, keeps moll Lyrica
(Melissa Duge) on a tight leash as both personal concubine and star prostitute. Appointed her chaperone, Terry falls for Lyrica. The pair plot to escape together, Terry rightly assuming that Tommy won't care enough to take action. Unfortunately, the boy doesn't know that Lyrica has augmented their
nest egg by ripping off Tommy's capital from a gun deal. Tommy and his hoods jump the fugitive lovers at a motel, and only Terry survives the shootout.
"How do you feel?" asks Terry during a brief beachfront idyll. "Timeless," responds Lyrica--one of the few haunting lines in a thin script. Hart focuses his attention on creative visuals: A poetic melange of tight closeups and images of waves lapping over sand; coarse-grained monochromatic
imagery; and whole sequences between Terry and Lyrica that unfold in still photos (a technique recalling "mod" '60s cinema a la TOM JONES). Limpid romance permeates TIMELESS; a spare subplot has Terry's father staggering out on a successful quest to reunite with his own beloved spouse.
Documentary-raw NYC settings and unglamorized performers temper the sentiment. When filmmakers throw every technique they know at the screen it's often an act of desperation, but Hart's debut sincerely justifies the arty approach. There wouldn't be much film without one. (Violence, profanity,adult situations, sexual situations, substance abuse.)
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