Timeless (1996)
Vanguard Films
Cast: Peter Byrne, Melissa Duge

It’s rare that I find a film that can be ’artsy’ without being pretentious or muddled, but ’Timeless’ is able to pull off this trick quite well. The story in ’Timeless’ is familiar enough. Peter Byrne stars as Terry, an 18-year old street hustler who lives in New York City. Terry turns ’odd-jobs’ (read: crimes) to get enough money to scrape by. He lives with his alcoholic father, who spends most of his time and money looking for his wife, who ran out on the family. One day, while doing a ’job’, Terry meets Lyrica (Melissa Duge), a pretty, but downbeaten girl who’s working as a prostitute (and also a nude model, given the implications in one scene). Terry is immediately taken by Lyrica, and after they spend a night walking around the city and talking, he convinces her to run away with him. But, they soon learn that one can never outrun one’s destiny or problems.

As noted above, the plot of ’Timeless’ isn’t very original, but it’s the film’s style that makes it worth watching. Writer/director/editor Chris Hart, mixes still frames, with different film stocks to create a visceral visual style. (A good comparison would be the ever-shifting visuals in ’Natural Born Killers’.) Hart uses these different looks to convey different aspects of the story. (For example, the scenes involving Terry’s dad are always very grainy.) Adding to this is the narration by Terry, which gives the film a poignant and realistic quality. For a low-budget film, the acting is especially good, most notably the two leads, Byrne and Duge. Be aware that ’Timeless’ is a gritty and depressing film, but it does give an accurate picture of what many people will go through to make it day-by-day.

The ’Timeless’ DVD features one of the best transfers that we’ve seen thus far from Vanguard Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1, but unfortunately, is not enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The picture is notably sharp and clear, showing only a fine amount of grain at times. (This doesn’t count the scenes, which are intentionally grainy.) The source print shows relatively few defects, and those present are very minor. The film’s color palette is very natural, although a bit washed out at times. (Once again, this may have been intentional on the part of the filmmakers.) This is no overt artifacting or noise on the image.

The audio on the DVD is a digital mono, which gives us clear dialogue that is never overpowered by the sound effects. There are no extras on the DVD.