Catching Time is an upcoming dark comedy sci-fi/neo noir film written and directed by Phil Derrick, director of the 2010s The Stroke. It stars John Slattery, Zooey Deschanel and Claud Marin. The film was released globally on May 20, 2012, and had its premiere at Cannes on May 16.
The film is a science fiction/neo noir hybrid, with satirical undertones. Derrick has described the film as "Blade Runner meets Dr. Strangelove". Slattery plays Terrence Gorin, an employee of TechNor, who has a limtied amount of time to clear his name, after being presumably betrayed by his employer. Production began in May 2011, with Slattery being announced in the lead role.
Set in the not to distant future, Terrence Gorin (John Slattery) is an employee of the multi-trillion dollar all controlling TechNor company, run by Mr. Chitwer (Claud Marin). When Terrence is betrayed by Chitwer, he has 48 hours to clear his name, with the help of the mysterious Eve (Zoeey Deschanel).
Sometime in the near future, all of the Earth's major cities have become massive industrial strongholds, called "Power Hubs", controlled by rival companies, with TechNor controlling the most. Head of Marketing Campaigns Terrence Gorin (John Slattery) attends work at the TechNor Monolith of Industry on a daily basis, though through his narration the audience learns that he does particularly like his job, or his boss, the megalomaniacal Mr. Chitwer (Claud Marin). Chitwer is a purist, but also believes humanity should embrace cybernetics, as evidenced by his synthetic eye.
Despite years of serving TechNor and Chitwer, the company faces massive fiscal losses, and Chitwer needs a scapegoat. He summons Terrence into a board meeting, where he subsequently proposes that Terrence is a mole in TechNor and has been profiting from extortion and corruption. Displaying considerable athleticism, Terrence escapes the Monoloth via the industrial causeways between buildings, culminating in his attempt to evade Chitwer's men. Although he manages to escape, he finds himself stranded in D-Town, a derelict slum where the poor population, all possessing white hair, live.
- John Slattery as Terrence Gorin: A TechNor employee who is betrayed by Mr. Chitwer and becomes a fugitive.
- Claud Marin as Mr. Chitwer: The owner of TechNor and the chief villain of the film. Marin died his naturally black hair white, and his costume includes a synthetic eyepiece.
- Zoeey Deschanel as Eve: A mysterious white haired girl who helps Gorin clear his name.
Derrick, known for his acerbic and dark humor, wanted his next film to be more serious, but still with a pervading undertone of satire. He developed the idea of a dystopian setting, where one company controls all, forming the basis for TechNor. Derrick envisioned a chase movie, with a background of subversive and satirical noir/sci-fi.
Phil Derrick always envisioned the lead role for actor John Slattery, known for his role in Mad Men. Slattery agreed to appear in the film if it did not conflict with his Mad Men schedule. The film, thus, was largely filmed during Mad Men's hiatus. Deschanel also agreed to appear in the film, and Derrick filmed her scenes at a second location due to scheduling difficulties.
The film will be released on the 20th of May 2012, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16. Derrick, along with Claud Marin, attended the premiere. Slattery and Deschanel were unable to, due to filming commitments for Mad Men and New Girl, respectively.
The film was released in general cinemas worldwide on May 20, and while it faced box office competition from bigger name movies, it still grossed a decent return sum for the studio and the filmmaker.
Early reviews from Cannes have been generally positive. Aaron Ender from the Independent Times called the film one of the best Cannes 2012 had to offer, and declared it "Derrick's best movie yet". Jean Fardou of the FilmNette called Slattery "smooth as hell", and praised the film for its unique feel and the cast.
Initial wide release was also positively received. On Rotten Tomatoes the film garnered a 83% Fresh rating, with the consensus being: "While not as humorous as Derrick's previous offerings, Catching Time is still an intelligent and interesting sci-fi film". Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5/4 stars, saying "this film is clearly Derrick's tribute to his childhood movies, it is both his most ambitious and deep effort yet, with his vivid vision of the future realised perfectly". Rolling Stone described the film as "cool, slick and subtly funny in parts", giving in 4/5 stars.
Empire enjoyed the film, giving it 4.8/5 stars, concluding that "Catching Time continues a trend of American science fiction of the last few years, with director Phil Derrick's vision fully realised in his most ambitious and his most personal film to date".