Nick of Time (1995)
“Who are you?”
“I’m the guy who’s gonna kill you’re daughter if you don’t get moving.”
That’s a strong argument to do as Christopher Walken says. It’s up to Johnny Depp to decide how to play along with our villain long enough to find a way out of this assassination plot he’s found himself embroiled in.
Slick haired Walken and Roma Maffia are looking to pick a patsy who’ll do as they say with a little blackmail tactics. When Depp arrives at a train station with his young daughter he is approached by what he believes are two police officers and quickly discovers the next ninety minutes of his life are about to be the longest he’ll ever live.
‘Your out of you’re mind.” says Depp. Walken answers in that perfect style all his own. “What’s your point?”
The plot is simple. Either Depp walks up and kills the state governor played by Marsha Mason or his daughter dies. He’s turned loose to do the job and finds himself under constant surveillance from Walken. Despite trying to find a way out he’s drawn in deeper when it appears as if those closest to Mason are in on the killing leaving Depp to having a hard time figuring a way out and saving both himself and his little girl.
Thankfully he has caught the ear of Charles Dutton who operates a shoe shine stand in the hotel where the political rally is taking place. With the aid of some hired help throughout the hotel Depp just might be able to get close enough to Mason without Walken and company knowing it to plead his case and hopefully gain the confidence of the woman he has been sent to kill.
This film from director John Badham attempts to play out in real time over the ninety minutes the movie takes to get us to the finale. While I like the general idea of the plot I did find it plays longer then it’s actual running time as it stumbles occasionally to pad out the running length.
Like a Hitchcock film it tells us right up front what the problem is. Now it’s up to Depp’s Jimmy Stewart styled character to solve that problem. Joining in on the fun is Peter Strauss as Mason’s husband and veteran G.D. Spradlin who is one actor I never seem to trust when he turns up on screen in a political thriller.
With all the odd ball characters Mr. Depp has been playing throughout the years it is kind of nice to see him in something rather normal looking back at this role of the everyman caught in a situation beyond his control. Walken is of course…… Walken. Is there really any other way to describe this one of a kind actor. He’s so unique that his name can be used to describe his acting style when mimicked by or influencing others. The script by Patrick Sheane Duncan allows him a fun speech to preach to Depp just how serious he can be when things are not carried out to his liking. This alone makes makes the film worth a look.
Outside of the supernatural settings of Sleepy Hollow which I must admit to loving, this offers us a chance to see the two leading men in a contemporary setting at odds against each other. No classic but one could do a lot worse though director Badham has given us better.