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Real Time

Year: 2008
Language: English
Runtime: 78 min

Director: Randall Cole
Producer: Julia Rosenberg, Paula Devonshire, Ari Lantos
Executive Producer:
Writer: Randall Cole
Cinematographer: Rudolf Blahacek
Editor: Gareth Scales, Michael Pacek
Sound:  Hervig Gayer
Music: Jim Guthrie
Cast:  Jay Baruchel, Randy Quaid, Jayne Eastwood

Production Company: Serendipity Point Films/ January Films Ltd./ Devonshire Productions Ltd./ ABP Pictures

Shot in Hamilton, Ontario, Randall Cole’s Real Time is a low-budget comedy drama that explores the themes of luck and the importance of making the most of the time we have. Through the bleak urban landscape, the film captures the city’s post-industrial desolation and makes no attempt at sugarcoating it. The plot is based around Andy (Jay Baruchel) a neurotic man-child, who is abducted by Reuban (Randy Quaid) a tough Australian hit man who has been hired to kill Andy due to his accumulated gambling debt. Reuban grants Andy one hour to live which they spend fulfilling Andy’s last wishes.

As the title indicates, the film depicts this hour in real time, so the audience is privy to every detail of the men’s interactions. Much of this hour is spent driving between places as they discuss the bad decisions Andy has made throughout his life. During the course of the film, the two characters visit Andy’s former workplace – a fried chicken joint – and his cat-lady grandmother (Jayne Eastwood). A surprising twist at the end leaves the viewer somewhat perplexed, but allows for reflection on notions of good and bad luck.

Real Time premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 18, 2008 and has since traveled to notable events such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2009 Randall Cole was nominated for a Genie award in the category of Best Original Screenplay. At the 2009 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Jayne Eastwood was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Canadian Film, while Randy Quaid took home the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film. Despite these recognitions, critical responses to Real Time were varied.

The technique of real time and the dialogue-heavy script not only showcases the actors’ talents, but also creates an illusion of reality which acknowledges Canada’s documentary tradition -- a common thread linking many Canadian films. The choice of Hamilton as a location was probably partially motivated by the substantial tax credits offered by the Ontario government during this period and designed to encourage filmmakers to shoot outside of Toronto. (See also Leonard Farlinger’s All Hat.) That said, the urban landscape of Hamilton is both familiar and convincing to Canadian audiences perhaps because of its obvious lack of gentrification – and helps invest the film with a compelling and convincing aura of realism. The film also features a fine score, courtesy of Canadian singer songwriter Jim Guthrie, and boasts numerous iconic Canadian bands, including the Tragically Hip and the Stampeders.

By: Rebecca Klein