Dead on Time follows scientist Moshin Dewar (Mohamed Zouaoui), who is in grave danger thanks to his invention. Anwar the Butcher (Affif Ben Badra) and his minions have their sights set to take down the young man. He would appear to be just an individual hunted and murdered in the streets, as an uprising has turned the city into a warzone. However, the people tasked with finding and protecting Moshin are an eccentric bunch that turns Dewar’s journey into a chaotic mess.
Dead on Time is the type of film that makes you want to hate it, yet you can’t help but fall in love. The acting is subpar, the story is fractured, making it difficult to understand, and the production quality falls short of expectations. However, there is something endearing about the movie that is difficult to explain. As the film progresses and this story of survival somehow shifts in tone and gets ridiculous, it becomes clear that while it’s not listed as such, Dead on Time is somewhat of a comedy.
Tom Bruise (John Sjogren)—yes, you read that right, Tom Bruise—leads the way with his overly American approach to everything. He understands everything that is not the United States to be “third world” and regularly expresses his displeasure with anything that he is unfamiliar with. From the Kardashians to Starbucks, to what time McDonald’s stops serving breakfast, Bruise is the ultimate American, and his character becomes laughable as a result. The fact that viewers want to laugh at Bruise is not a bad thing, though. Everyone has experienced someone that possesses a similar gusto, allowing them to connect to the character. As the movie continues, viewers find out just how genuine Bruise can be and that he is more than just endearing; he’s respectable.
“…Moshin Dewar…is in grave danger…the people tasked with finding and protecting Moshin are an eccentric bunch…”
The film plays out like a combination of Lone Survivor and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which seems like an inevitable failure of a mixture. The odd juxtaposition of action and comedy, blood and laughs, and intensity and lightheartedness creates a feeling of reality. The choices made throughout Dead on Time reminds viewers of the roller coaster that is life and makes it difficult to avert their eyes. The film is ultimately guided by truth and reality, drawing in audiences and refusing to let them go. Even as the movie antagonizes viewers with its ridiculousness, they find solace in the familiarity present throughout.
Passion is a quality that many find admirable, and it is strewn throughout Dead on Time. The acting, directing, and camerawork all feel remedial at times, but how dedicated everyone is to their craft and the film adds to the allure of Dead on Time. It feels like Sjogren is committed to this movie and the stances it takes throughout, permitting viewers to see beneath the surface, look past the shortcomings, and appreciate the bigger picture.
Dead on Time is difficult to appreciate at first, but the combination of comedy and intensity that surrounds Sjogren along with the passion and enthusiasm that is behind each scene makes all the absurdities worth watching. The movie presents the world with one of the strangest stories and oddest duos that I’ve seen in a long time. However, like the rest of the film, the juxtaposition is what makes the film possible and successful. The initial struggle is worth it as, by the end of Dead on Time, you will be able to appreciate the brilliant combination of comedy and casualties.
"…...brilliant combination of comedy and casualties."