If video stores or VOD menus featured a self-help/religious section, Vishal Hiraskar’s documentary The Time Is … Now would have a prominent place. This religious tract masquerading as a meditation on the nature of resiliency offers a series of stories about survivors of monstrous tragedies. But it offers scant insight to go along with its simplistic homilies about the power of faith and the reassuring presence of God.
Narrated by onscreen host Clarke Peters, who delivers such ominous pronouncements as “The world is in trouble” in suitably sonorous fashion while standing in front of fiery graphics, the film begins with a general historical look at past conflicts and inequities of money and power. It then segues into its presentation of its subjects’ individual stories, including a Kenyan who lost his brother in a brutal massacre; a pair of 9/11 survivors who literally became “blood brothers” after one rescued the other; a daughter of a British politician killed in a bombing who reached out to the perpetrator; and the American parents of a teenager killed by Palestinian terrorists when they were living in Israel. Each segment features onscreen interviews and crudely animated interludes depicting the more horrifying elements.
The film’s not so hidden political message is conveyed via onscreen quotes from such historical figures as Ronald Reagan and Edmund Burke. Viewers are advised that we should “go deep and find ourselves,” illustrated by a climactic sequence featuring people staring beatifically at the sky while a soothing voice urges them to absorb God’s energy. It’s all accompanied by the sort of ethereal visuals and music that one might encounter in a Scientology recruitment video.
But then again, what can you expect from a film that whips out such so-called spiritual experts as psychic Uri Geller and author/radio host Dr. Judy Kuriansky, the latter making a jaw-dropping reference to “when things were peaceful centuries ago.”
Opened Sept. 27 (House of International Media)
Narrator: Clarke Peters
Director: Vishal Hiraskar
Screenwriter: Barbara Ramsay
Producers: Vishal Hiraskar, Praful Hiraskar
Director of photography/editor: Prashant Hiraskar
Composer: Kostas Christides
Not rated, 91 min.