(Check out Chris Reed’s movie review of God’s Time, available now in theaters and on-demand. Seen it? Join the conversation with HtN on our Letterboxd Page.)
A flashy little comedic thriller set among (somewhat) recovering addicts, Daniel Antebi’s God’s Time is full of bro-ish energy and occasional wit, keeping its flimsy plot afloat through thick and very thin. And though it skirts a little too closely to sexist tropes of feminine hysteria, it never quite embraces them either. An appealing cast and sharp editing help the narrative buoyancy along. The devil may lie in the details, but some divine inspiration saves the day.
Dev (Ben Groh) serves as our narrator, breaking the fourth wall in the middle of almost every scene to provide commentary as the action unfolds. He’s in a 12-step program with his best friend, Luca (Dion Costelloe, Generation Wrecks), and madly in love with another fellow addict, Regina (Liz Caribel, a veritable force of nature)–named pronounced with a soft “g.” She’s got many combos going, some of which may involve Luca, doing things behind Dev’s back. Or not.
It’s a whirlwind of activity in the beginning, Antebi (making his feature debut) cutting back and forth through time and space to both entertain and disorient. Who knows where the truth lies, and that’s the point. We’re all just on God’s time.
Actually, the title refers most directly to a line Regina uses at the end of every meeting share. She constantly complains about an ex-boyfriend who kicked her out and stole her dog, always saying that she plans to kill him, but then pulling back and stating that no, really, she’ll let him die “in God’s time.” But then one day, she omits that conclusion, sending Dev into a tailspin, assuming the worst.
Dragging Luca into his anxiety, Dev does his best to keep tabs on Regina, despite everyone’s skepticism that she actually plans to do the deed. And so the plot unfolds in a dizzying array of cascading misadventures, each one less probable than the previous. It’s a mess, but undeniably fun.
Unfortunately, even though Caribel is a pure, raw talent, whose every screen appearance keeps us riveted, her character serves more as an opportunity for the two main men to solve their own problems than as a fully realized human being. This is hardly new territory for male artists to explore, and detracts from what is otherwise quite frequently a delight. Still, as a calling card of future greatness, God’s Time serves Caribel well.
Groh is the other standout, his Dev a solid guide through the mayhem. His cinematic charisma is undeniable, and he carries the shaky story on his capable shoulders with aplomb. We’re far from the serenity prayer or higher powers here, but can nevertheless accept the movie on its own terms. Turns out sobriety has its definite rewards.
– Christopher Llewellyn Reed (@ChrisReedFilm)
IFC Films; Daniel Antebi; God’s Time movie review