Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Time

In Time is that none-too-rare science fiction flick that boasts a strong, unique concept, but falls flat in scope and execution. 

Creating a world in which time literally equates to money is rather ingenious.  Once a person turns 25, they can live forever at that age, provided they keep the neon green timer on their forearm from running out.

In this film, time is currency.  A cup of coffee costs four minutes, rent costs a month, etc.  Your paycheck adds time to your life, and your expenses take it away.  Reach 0.00 and you’re dead.

So after Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) loses his mother, and unexpectedly inherits a century of time, he sets out to rage against the machine.  “I’m going to take them for all they’ve got,” he says blankly at some point.

“They” are the rich, and here’s where we begin to have problems.

From the film’s trailer, I had no idea that it was going to be such a metaphorical message movie.  And I use the word metaphor lightly, because nearly every scene in In Time past the 20 minute mark is dedicated to bashing the man.  Instill equality, even out the rich and the poor by stealing from the former and giving to the latter.  Slowly but surely, In Time becomes a futuristic Robin Hood in the worst kind of way. It’s Robin Hood pretending to not be Robin Hood.  It speaks so ceaselessly about the current state of our economy that it becomes repetitive and dull. 

And on top of everything, we get the girl.

Amanda Seyfried (who has, by now, established herself as a genuine talent) shows up as the daughter of one of the world’s wealthiest men (he owns a million years of time).  In a ridiculous, continuity-laden sequence, Timberlake kidnaps Seyfried from a party, and within minutes, her damsel in distress bit turns into a Patty Hearst-type vixen.  As the two rob banks and dish the stolen time out to the poor, a dedicate cop, err, timekepper (Cillian Murphy) is on their tail to restore order.

If the film is worthy of your time (pun!), it’s because of the three mentioned leads, and the great Roger Deakins’ steely cinematography.  But while the actors are good, the material they’re giving is a step above dogshit.  The script, by Truman Show writer Andrew Niccol, who also directed, is a series of strung-together clichés.  The plot scenarios are familiar and uneventful, and the ending is phoned-in and altogether weak. 

It’s not as if I expected more, but more it certainly could have been.  C-


  1. Think I'll wait for the DVD. Loved Truman Show but despite good ideas and great bits, didn't like Gattaca or Lord of War by Niccol as much as I'd hoped.

  2. Yeah completely agree. There seems to be a bad trend in all his films.

  3. This was a pretty bad film. I mean seriously so cliche. I really love Truman Show, it contains my favorite non-comedic Jim Carrey performance (never seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Man on the Moon). Gattaca even though isn't perfect is one of my favorite sci-fi flicks and Jude Law is fantastic. Lord of War contains one of the best scripts I ever saw, even if the film isn't great the script is genius. And Nicolas Cage gives one of his greatest 2000s performances (MY favorites are World Trade Center, Matchstick Men, Lord of War, The Bad Lieutenant, Adaptation and Werewolf Women of the S.S.).
    Oh, DON'T WATCH The Host (2013), is dogshit. Hope that Good Kill is better.

    1. I remember very little about this movie. Never felt the slightest need to revisit it. But I agree, Andrew Niccol is a fine filmmaker.