Sundance 2021 Review: Prime Time

Written by Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde

50/100

SYNOPSIS: New Year’s Eve 1999. Twenty-year-old Sebastian, armed with a gun, hijacks a TV studio and takes two hostages a famous TV presenter and a security guard. His plan? No one seems to know, including Sebastian himself. His demand to deliver his message, whatever that may be, via live broadcast is repeatedly thwarted by an uncertain police force and an egotistical network chairman. As the night wears on, Sebastian and the hostages bond in unexpected ways, while those in power fumble to restore order.

REVIEW: Filmmaker, Jakub Piątek, misses the mark one this. It might have been trying to tell a bigger story but it just ended up being vacuous. I love movies that are usually confined in one location and learning that this was set in 1999 I thought it could bring something different into the picture. Instead, it follows up many of the tropes of hostage-movies (e.g. Money Monster, Dog Day Afternoon), and adds nothing new to the landscape. 

Those caveats aside Bartosz Bielenia, who you might have seen in the fantastic 2019 Feature Film Corpus Christi, elevates Prime Time. A film that simply would not work without him. His performance is the cohesive glue that holds everything together while revealing very little about his character, Sebastian. While Bielenia’s performance elevates those around him, it fails to make me care about the people he took hostage and the rapport that they end up building. 

Prime Time doesn’t deliver on the implied thrills it’s synopsis indicated it may contain. The ending is perplexing in the most meaningless way. I do commend Piatek and his crew for pulling this off during the pandemic but that’s not enough of a reason to overlook it’s drawbacks or make me like it. This is the second film shot during the pandemic that I’ve seen at Sundance 2021 and did not enjoy (the first one being How it Ends).  

Prime Time Trailer

Prime Time is currently playing at the Sundance 2021 Film Festival

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Episode 97: Rescreening Dog Day Afternoon

“My job is to care about and be responsible for every frame of every movie I make. I know that all over the world there are young people borrowing from relatives and saving their allowances to buy their first cameras and put together their first student movies, some of them dreaming of becoming famous and making a fortune. But a few are dreaming of finding out what matters to them, of saying to themselves and to anyone who will listen, “I care.” A few of them want to make good movies.”

Sidney Lumet

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue.

Dog Day Afternoon Trailer

Dog Day Afternoon is currently available to stream on HBO Max

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Episode 94: Rescreening The Thin Red Line

“I film quite a bit of footage, then edit. Changes before your eyes, things you can do and things you can’t. My attitude is always ‘let it keep rolling.”

Terrence Malick

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and provide a First Impression on their next Rescreening episode title, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.

The Thin Red Line Trailer

The Thin Red Line is currently available to rent and purchase digitally

Drink in the Movies would like to thank PODGO for sponsoring this episode. You can explore sponsorship opportunities and start monetizing your podcast by signing up for an account here. If you do please let them know we sent you, it helps us out too!

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