IMDB Link: Time (2020)
Director: Garrett Bradley
Stars: Rob Rich II, Fox Rich, Freedom Rich
Synopsis: Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.
This is a very different type of documentary of this genre. Most documentaries that focus on the crime system highlight the issues of the investigative side, resulting in innocent people getting locked up. In this documentary, it is made expressively clear at the start that Rob Rich II committed the crime that got him into prison. It gives the documentary an interesting viewpoint right from the start.
This documentary is completely in black-and-white, and at first I did question whether that choice would add anything to the film. However, I found the filter choice to give impact to the story. Not only that, but I can assume that the quality of some older footage from 2000 that would not have looked that great edited in with the footage of this year if they were all in colour.
You get the real weight of the situation, especially from the wife who is watching it all unfold and stands beside her husband throughout all of it. There are real consequences to her husband being in prison for all of this time, especially the fact that she has had to single-handedly raise her children from birth. She is strong, and all of the clips that they show of her helps build that narrative up, including the spoken poetry and speeches that are given by her and others in the film.
The film is quite short, coming in at only 81 minutes long. It can feel like not everything is coming across on this documentary, but this is one that takes a different focus. This is a story about the relationship between Rob and Fox, and how the justice system unfairly punishes those extremely harshly for their crimes, especially when race comes into play. I do wish there was more shown about Rob and what he went through for the 20 years, because it is hard to believe that the time did go by.
Despite the short time, there are times that the documentary does drag. Not everything feels necessary, and those moments rob the emotion that the rest of the film has. It can be hard to connect to the story, because it is purely linked to the characters and their strength during this time. I wanted to see a lot more, because the film does come off as overly-edited and polished which takes away from the story.
This is still a solid documentary from Garrett Bradley, and I wish I checked it out earlier when I had a chance at the London Film Festival. It is an interesting viewpoint on the justice system documentary and one that is also worthy of discussion. Whilst I wish there was more meat on the bones with this story, it is hard not to be emotionally connected when the film wraps up. It may be a surprise player in this year’s award season, and I hope more people do give it a watch.