Wednesday 14 November 2012

Time of My Life [2012]

For his second feature film, Belgian filmmaker Nic Balthazar chose the rather drab and immensely polarizing subject of euthanasia. But he managed to tactfully circumvent both – the film was infused with enough zest that made it more engaging and less academic; and, his intent wasn’t in going into a sociopolitical or philosophical debate, but to chronicle an essentially human story. The film began on an interesting, and on hindsight, divergent note – close buddies Mario Verstraete (Koen De Graeve) and Thomas (Geert van Rampelberg) being involved in political protest movements, and making unrestrained allusions to their close friendship as also the zeitgeist of the age by literally sharing the brazen and beautiful Lynn (Lotte Pinoy). However, this ‘based on real events’ story soon aligned itself to its core theme when a few years later Mario, now a politician fighting for legalization of the right to death, is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Though he is always surrounded by the people he loves – his best friend Thomas, now a doctor, his concerned parents, his former wife, his loving son, and through a nicely handled plot development, Lynn, who he has always been in love with, he decides to choose his departure while he is still in his senses once his fight for mercy killing succeeds. The initial breezy, here and now feel of the film got supplanted with a more melodramatic approach during its later half – the last half hour was in fact quite long-drawn, and ought to have been compressed. But, fine, heartfelt performances by the cast, and the director’s decision of not burdening the story with any unwarranted pyrotechnics, made this a decent watch – emotionally, if not intellectually.

p.s. 1: Watched this film in 2012 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)

p.s. 2: Incidentally, this also happens to be my 800th movie review at Cinemascope - and what better way to reach this mark than by my first viewing at this year's KFF

Director: Nic Balthazar
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Biopic/Docu-Fiction
Language: French
Country: Belgium

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