GOD'S TIME (2022)
Release Date: Tribeca Film Festival (2022)
"Dev and Luca race through New York to stop Regina, on a righteous mission to murder her ex-boyfriend."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
There have been countless films set in New York City, since the dawn of cinema. From King Kong to Ghostbusters and even The Smurfs, some are good, some are great, and some are just grade A garbage. At this year’s Tribeca Festival, I believe I saw one of the best NYC-set films ever made. It doesn’t involve a giant ape or ghosts or any other mythical creatures. It’s not even what most would call a blockbuster. Instead, it’s a profound, yet comedic little indie called God’s Time.
Directed by Daniel Antebi and set in the fall of 2020, at the height of COVID, the film follows two recovering addicts as they traverse New York City to stop one of their friends from potentially committing a murder. Contrary to the subject matter and the film’s really edgy core characters, I must reaffirm that this is an absolute comedy. Not only are the series of events our main characters find themselves in humorous, but the reasoning behind their adventure is too.
The film is built around the titular concept of “God’s time.” While it leaves the true meaning of the term largely up to the viewer to decide, it’s a phrase one of the characters lives by religiously. As previously mentioned, the film’s two protagonists, Dev and Luca, are recovering addicts. They attend daily support groups with other addicts, including one that they both have feelings for named Regina. At every one of these meetings, Regina always finds a way to bring up a story about how her ex-boyfriend kicked her out of her own apartment and stole her dog. Although she would love to seek revenge, she knows that all will be corrected “in God’s time.”
One day, Regina shows up and shares her story, but does not utter her signature phrase. This prompts Dev and Luca to suspect that something isn’t right and that she might be finally taking matters into her own hands. Thus begins their journey searching for a woman they think they know, who is actually a major mystery.
Dev and Luca deserve to be remembered among the rest of the best clueless duos in cinematic history. While nowhere near as dumb as Bill and Ted or ridiculous as Harold and Kumar, they are both simultaneously funny and compelling characters to follow. Of the two, Ben Groh shines the most. The way in which he balances Dev’s narcissism and charisma blew me away. Paired with his approach to breaking the fourth wall, I think he could give Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool a run for his money.
Dion Costelloe’s performance as Luca is also great; don’t get me wrong. He’s the story’s straight man, so he doesn’t get to flex his range too much. As a character playing a budding actor though, he nails one particular sequence where he has to pretend to be someone else to sneak into a building to find Regina. Speaking of Regina, newcomer Liz Caribel Sierra delivers quite the performance as well. A bittersweetheart, she puts an interesting spin of the decades-old idea of the femme fatale. You don’t know until the very end what her motives truly are or who she really cares about.
Antebi’s direction is also worth noting, especially since his style and approach to the story shifts as it evolves. What starts out feeling like a parody turns into a heist and then a thriller, and it never loses its overarching comedic tone. Aside from Groh’s constant breaking of the fourth wall, another one of my favorite recurring bits are Antebi’s surrealist visual gags. Whether it be a simple title card introducing a new character or a cutaway to a different point in time, they add an extra layer of humor to the film while demonstrating Antebi’s fearlessly fresh voice.
In my opinion, Antebi crafted a masterwork with God’s Time. Not because he found a way to brilliantly contain the buddy road trip concept and not because he made a wholly original and entertaining odyssey set in one of the most recycled settings in the world. At the core of God’s Time is the exploration of what makes human beings tick. Looking at desire through the lens of people struggling with addiction, people whose concept of desire is clouded, really spoke to me. The film explores how hope that a higher power will fix your problems can sometimes become the most dangerous drug of all. But it also proves that only with the help of loved ones who know you and know what you’re going through can it become a reality.