Wednesday, 30 November 2011

In Time


Writer/Dir: Andrew Niccol (Gattaca)
Cast: Justin Timberlake ,Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, incent Kartheiser
USA, 2011

Seen: November 12, 2011 at AMC

Reason to see: It's science fiction and and I loved Gattaca

In Time is set in a world/time where time acts as currency, and once you hit 25 your body stops physically aging and will keep running indefinitely as long as you have enough time on your biological clock. In this world we follow Will (Justin Timberlake), who does manual labour job, lives with his mother and literally clocks day by day and hopes one day to have more time on his arm (clock) than hours in the day.

It's a great way to understand the pressure of the need to earn to live, but what didn't quite jive is that it was very clear that you need more than the hours of the day on your arm if you are going to get anywhere or do anything, so right there I had a disconnect with not understanding how much time anyone would need to last a day and that was an early warning bell for more confusing and issues. It's so sad because the film has such a great premise, I was intrigued since the first trailer as it's an interesting analogy to wealth having it literally wired to life and a fascinating way to show the different in economical levels, how society works (or doesn't), priorities, pressures, subcultures and the like. Although the film does actually touch on most of those interesting ideas, it falls into so many sand traps along the way including ironically pacing. There are moments there are very specifically noted to take a lot of time in one instance, and then are show very quickly later and that just made me not believe in the film at all. You have to follow the rules you set up, especially if they are intrinsic to the basic (and unique) concept of the story, otherwise you are going to lose people.

I did like Justin Timberlake as Will, he was very charismatic & believable in the different hats he wears for the role from being a concerned son, to a bit of a bruiser or a charmer (or a bit of both). I've been wondering how he'd fair as a leading man since The Social Network and I think we will see a lot of him in the future, although I had lots of issues with the film I didn't have any issues with him. Justin Timberlake was great in the action sequences, had a good emotional range and was charismatic throughout. Which is impressive in a film that also stars Cillian Murphy who is outrageously charismatic & talented and was a highlight here as the timekeeper/law enforcer who had been around since things were different which was one of the other things I wish they had played with in the film; if people could literally be timeless, how would that effect trends or eras or the passage of time? Everything felt so 'now', which didn't seem to fully explore the concept at all. I also kept wondering why they didn't go into different directions or explore more ideas. It really focused on economy and wealth; aligning the poor to the dregs of the world and the rich to elites and never the two to meet; and there was certainly an uncomfortable idea of that having more time was 'dangerous' to all involved. Great for drama, but disturbing as a concept.

It would be easy to harp on things little and big like not everyone looked 25, the sad uncaring and selfish nature of most of the people in the world, the glaring oddity that the time exchanges aren't tracked but for me the big question was why would this every happen? What's the advantage and how was it implemented? Does no one try and undermine the system? How much time do you need to survive a day, month, year; or send your kids to school (if there is school?), or get training, buy a magazine or take a trip? No idea. It all felt either easy or too hard. There was no in between.

I really wanted to like In Time, but it was so sad to see it not fully explore a fascinating idea and to be honest the fact that it had pacing issue made me literally mad. That was a deal breaker. I did enjoy the performances of Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy & …. As the big rich bad, but I shook my head at the mangling of such an interesting idea to a mostly messy film.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'd would watch it again
It's a challenge to recommend, I think sci-fi fans will be disappointed and they are the target audience

Also see: All 2011 Films Reviewed and All Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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