“Time Out” is the narrative of a man falling into a deep trap he has dug for himself and the despair to which it leads. While this movie expresses the difficult realities associated with stress, its ending feels too idealistic to conclude a previously accurate story.
Vincent Renault has recently been fired from his company, but will not tell his wife Muriel. Renault spends his days driving, reading newspaper classifieds and “updating” Muriel on work by falsifying tales of employment. In order to begin the process of breaking his job loss to Muriel, Renault hints to her that he is thinking of changing jobs.
Privacy meaning nothing among kin, Muriel mentions the possible change of employment to Renault’s mother. Soon, all the family’s acquaintances begin to quiz Renault on this new prospect. Caught off-guard, Renault creates a story, offending Muriel by telling others details he had not first shared with her. Little known to Muriel is that Renault himself knew nothing before it had come out of his mouth.
These interactions spur Renault to create work for himself. He creates a position for himself in a fictitious company and begins to recruit friends as investors.
As the movie progresses, Renault’s fake investments grow complicated. Renault is overwhelmed and has growing feelings of guilt related to stealing from his friends. An observer to all of Renault’s “business” interactions is a man who expresses sympathy for the former’s plight.
While at first a seemingly innocent benefactor, this man invites Renault to join his enterprise of illegal importation of goods to resell in France. Reluctant but seeing no other way to pay back his friend’s “shares,” Renault agrees.
Throughout the film, Renault is shown to be struggling with doubt and guilt. These themes are portrayed accurately in scenes where he is alone and in his interaction with others. Muriel tries to encourage him, but, drowning within himself, Renault accepts little comfort. This begins to estrange the couple from one another. Both are clearly shown to love each other, but they are unable to do so effectively through Renault’s isolation and non-disclosure of his dealings.
Renault’s relationship with his children is well developed. The film shows Renault’s desire to connect with and relate to his daughter and two sons. The further he delves, however, into dishonesty, the less time he has for these connections and the farther he grows from his offspring. During the climax of the film, Renault sees how distanced he has become from his family.
Renault is seen in despair and flees his home, driving away without destination. Thematically, it seems that the appropriate ending of the film would be soon. Renault parks his car on the side of the road and walks off into the darkness as Muriel pleads with him on the phone to return and work things out. The screen fades to black. However, it ends uncharacteristically, and the resolution does not coincide with the rest of the film.
The final installment of the French film series will be “Two Days, One Night.” The 2014 movie centers around a woman named Sandra who, on the verge of losing her job, comes up with a last-ditch effort. Sandra has one weekend to get her coworkers to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job.
“Two Days, One Night” will be shown on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. in Hart Chapel.