Running Time

Running Time (1997)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Jeremy Roberts, Anita Barone
Extras: Audio Commentary, Theatrical Trailer

It’s always nice to come across a truly inventive and visionary movie. And it’s even better when it was made by people that you are already familiar with. “Running Time” was concocted by Sam Raimi protege Josh Becker (“Thou Shalt Not Kill…Except”) and stars long-time Raimi cohort Bruce Campbell. The film is an updating of Hitchcock’s “Rope”, where the entire film appears to be comprised of one shot.
But, here the camera isn’t confined to a set as it travels through many locations. The minimal plot concerns Campbell being released from prison and then immediately joining his old gang to steal the prison’s laundry money. As is to be expected, the plot takes a backseat to the gimmick, but the film never gets boring and is quite suspenseful in places. The “one shot” idea works very well, and the cuts are hidden nicely (although still easy to spot) and the film works well at being presented in real time. The black and white photography lends a certain grittiness to the crime story. Incidentally, the woman in the film, Anita Barone, is the same woman who appears cowering behind the chanisaw wielding Ash in one of the promo stills for “Evil Dead.”

The Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD of “Running Time” offers a nice package for this obscure film. The film is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio, as it was shot on 16 mm film. The black and white images look very good with good contrast and show little grain. (In the commentary, Becker explains how and why low-grain film was used.) Blacks are deep and solid while highlights are brilliant but never appear over-exposed.

The audio is a Dolby Digital mono track, which is acceptable for this sort of film, and does justice to Raimi vet Joseph LoDuca’s score. The DVD features an audio commentary with Becker and Campbell, that is hilarious. I truly admire the fact that Bruce Campbell is always up for doing an audio commentary. Check this film out… before it’s too late.