Timecode divides the screen into four parts and follows, in four uninterrupted shots, a series of overlapping stories. There's the wife (Saffron Burrows) of a movie producer (Stellan Skarskård) who's considering leaving him; the producer is having an affair with an aspiring actress (Salma Hayek); and the actress is the lover of a wealthy woman (Jeanne Tripplehorn), who jealously plants a bug in the actress's purse when the actress pretends to go to an audition. Meanwhile, the producer's partners and employees (Holly Hunter, Xander Berkeley, Steven Weber, and others) are trying to cope with the producer's increasing instability. There's a drug-dealing security guard; a dim massage therapist; a temperamental director who can't find the right actress; and assorted other Hollywood types who float in and out of the action. Earthquakes and aftershocks shake things up, a lot of cocaine is snorted, and there's some sex and some violence, all improvised by the actors around a story set up by the director, Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas). The emotional effect of any story is muted by the constant distraction of trying to take in four screens at once, though at times the stories resonate off each other nicely. It's an interesting experiment, made possible by the portability and longer takes of digital cameras; anyone interested in how digital technology has affected filmmaking will want to see this novel film. --Bret Fetzer
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