Carlos Reygadas latest venture after a six year hiatus, surprisingly opens with a scene of children at play, in a murky Mexican pond. The kids seem content, oblivious to events of infidelity among their legal guardians. As the children continuously splash around, playfully attacking their distant relatives and friends with mud and contaminated water, the teens of the neighborhood are just as clueless of the events between Juan, Esther, and Phil. It’s the break. The sun is out, and romance is afoot. Yet deep down, we all know about the pitiful jealousy and secret affairs taken place in this very isolated countryside. Developed in a slowly paced three hour runtime, Reygadas meta-approach to an all too common melodramatic concept in Our Time, is a pure and honest exploration on love, lust, and everything in between.
One of the most effective and memorable elements of Reygadas latest is the pure genius of it’s casting. Utilizing his own family and friends as literal actors for symbolic representation, there’s something so uncanny and natural about the dialogue interchanges between the characters featured in the film. From the child actors, to the characters of Juan and Esther, Reygadas and Co manage to pull off an near-impossible feat; to create a passion project that interweaves real-life conflict and resolution within a fictional narrative. Does the awkward realization of this casting, break some of the momentum of the situations at play, which unfortunately causes the film to linger on for far too long, as means for cinematic experimentation? Yes, but only occasionally.
Just like the film’s protagonist, Reygadas artistic approach to the film’s mature and often times conspicuous subject matter, is a poetic venture into the unknown. The film never resolves any of its major conflicts, resulting in a product that takes more of a visually stimulating approach to an unsolvable narrative. It’s a journey into human nature, and the barbaric self-realization regarding conflicts with adultery and the language of sexual relationships. Just like the beasts set on Juan’s farm, whom of which gore innocent mules for self-satisfaction; we’re all just angry, horny bulls seeking for admiration within a timeline of our own pitiful short-lived life.
Double the run-time, and the double the duplicity, Reygadas return into the limelight is more than welcomed for his latest feature. Our Time may be a tad overlong, resulting in a few hiccups through the film’s painfully excruciating subject matter; but the end result is one of poetic somberness. From the film’s beautiful and organic long takes, to the depressingly nostalgic vistas, Our Time is a film that first and foremost attempts to answer the logical reasoning behind love, and all of its Pandora Box-like complications. Yet we all know that the answer is not as simple as what it seems. Love is an enigma; a dangerous fatal game.
Our Time is Now Playing in Select Cinemas