New Year’s Eve 1999. Twenty-year-old Sebastian, armed with a gun, hijacks a TV studio and takes two hostages—a famous TV presenter and a security guard. His plan? No one seems to know, including Sebastian himself. His demand to deliver his message, whatever that may be, via live broadcast is repeatedly thwarted by an uncertain police force and an egotistical network chairman. As the night wears on, Sebastian and the hostages bond in unexpected ways, while those in power fumble to restore order.
Before YouTube or TikTok, there was broadcast television. Prime Time, the debut feature from director Jakub Piątek, subverts the “medium is the message” concept by revealing how tenuously the medium is held together by ineptitude at all levels. Prime Time’s claustrophobic and chaotic atmosphere is marked by its use of one location, handheld camera movement, and frenetic editing. Sebastian (Corpus Christi’s Bartosz Bielenia) is neither the villain nor the hero but one more person swept up in the power of spectacle and the fantasy of revolt.