Films & Schedules

  • Real Time

  • Randall Cole

78 minutes

Production Company:
Serendipity Point Films/January Films Ltd./ Devonshire Productions Inc./ APB Pictures
Julia Rosenberg, Paula Devonshire, Ari Lantos
Randall Cole
Production Designer:
Rupert Lazarus
Rudolf Blahacek
Gareth Scales, Michael Pacek
Hervig Gayer
Jim Guthrie
Principal Cast: Randy Quaid, Jay Baruchel, Jayne Eastwood

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures/ Maximum Films
International Sales Agent:
Maximum Films International

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In his second feature, writer-director Randall Cole demonstrates a talent for infusing suspense with comedy. The story focuses on Andy (Jay Baruchel), a small-time gambler who owes money to a mob kingpin. But his time is up, and hired hit man Reuban (Randy Quaid) tells him so. Andy has one hour before Reuban will take him out with a bullet to the head.

From that moment, Real Time becomes an intricate game of cat and mouse in, as the title suggests, real time. For his precious last hour, Reuban agrees to escort Andy on a grand tour of his life's regrets, giving the soon-to-be-dead hustler a chance to make some outstanding apologies. Cole does not sentimentalize this journey, never fooling us into mistaking Andy's remorse for a sign of virtue.

Even more striking are the humour and poignancy Quaid and Baruchel bring to their roles. They find subtlety in characters that could have easily descended into crude caricature. Baruchel and Quaid play off each other, resolute opposites in a tug-of-war over Andy's fate. Quaid turns in another tremendous performance, adding to what is an already impressive resumé, while Baruchel establishes himself as a new force to be reckoned with. Complementing these two commanding leads is a beautiful supporting performance by Canadian icon Jayne Eastwood as Andy's long-suffering grandmother.

Cole keeps his direction minimalist, allowing his cast to flesh out their characters as they manœuvre through the scenario. The director clearly understands the power inherent in his high-stakes premise. There are intermittent comic moments as Andy makes numerous attempts to escape Reuban's clutches, but the sense of impending doom only grows until the film's gripping conclusion. Fate and redemption deal surprising hands, even for the unluckiest of people.

Matthew Hays

Randall Cole was born in London, Ontario. He studied film at Concordia University in Montreal and at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto, during which time he wrote the short film Anderson Unbound (99). In addition to several other short films, he has directed the features 19 Months (02) and Real Time (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award