Time (2021)


Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.

Time’, one of the nominees for ‘Best Documentary’ at the upcoming Oscars is a mediocre and frustrating documentary about one woman’s attempts to see her husband released from prison. It’s a movie that I really struggled to get along with on several fronts, ranging from the style adopted by the filmmakers to the central conceit of the movie itself. It tells the story of the Richardson family primarily through the perspective of Sibil Fox, who is fighting for the release of her husband Rob, who is serving a 60 year sentence for bank robbery. As the title suggests, the documentary is about the passage of time and the challenges of coping with such a long time apart (by the time this movie is made, Rob has served approximately 20 years).

My first issue with ‘Time’ was in its central argument, which seems to fluctuate between making an argument about the length of prison sentences in America (a very valid point), to focusing in on Rob specifically, with both aspects dovetailing throughout. I understood why Sibil would want Rob to be released, but I think the movie does expect us to lend a greater degree of sympathy to a man who committed an armed robbery than I was prepared to give – I’m sure there are stronger case studies to argue against the draconian sentences applied to people than that of Rob Richardson. My second was with the style of the movie, which mixes home videos with footage following Sibil around, with her voiceover used heavily to get across the points the filmmakers are trying to make. I didn’t find her to be particularly engaging in the more politically pointed segments, although I felt the film did a decent job of demonstrating the impact essentially losing a father has on a family.

Time’ has had glowing praise elsewhere so perhaps I just caught this on a bad day, however I struggled to buy into the argument it was trying to make (despite agreeing with it principally) and I didn’t find it to be as compelling as I hoped and expected it to be.

Rating: 2/5

Directed By: Garrett Bradley


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