Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

RE:View: In Time

Time is a valuable thing, no matter how you spin it. It could be spent watching movies, much like sci-fi/action flick, In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Alternatively it could be spent reading reviews, much like this one. Or even, it could be spent protesting against corporate greed, much like the recent Occupy Wall Street campaign sweeping over the world. Because if In Time doesn't soar in some aspects, it certainly makes up for it in relevancy, giving us a tale that speaks volumes of social and economic inequality in a time that reeks of the stuff.

Taking place in an undisclosed point in the future, In Time has one very central idea; time is money. People are bio-engineered to stop ageing post-25, and instead must rely on how much time there is left on their forearm's ticker until they kick the bucket. But while some of the world live in poverty (whereby absolute poverty = sure death), the upper classes coast by with a potential of immortality. But one man defies that lifestyle, after being framed for murder. And he, along with gal-pal Sylvia, will stop at nothing to tear down the rotten system and give hope to the struggling people.

When everyone is 25, who can tell between mother, wife or daughter?
 That man is Will Salas, played by none other than pop-superstar Justin Timberlake. Still fresh from his sudden change of career paths, Timberlake gives a solid performance that (while not quite a match for his smart and smooth delivery in The Social Network) proves further his place in today's Hollywood scene. After a slight weak patch in the introductory slum scenes, Timberlake comes into his own with action, romance and emotion as we see Will's journey to truly "stick it to the man", taking him on risky poker games, car chases and lots and lots of running.

Sexy Back: a predictable couple, but gorgeous none-the-less.
So it's a good job his running mate, Amanda Seyfried, is also on par, giving us the naive rich girl, Sylvia Weis, as she comes to terms with the fact her lifestyle really might be superficial. The contrast of their characters gives the narrative a neat dynamic of opposites attracting and an obvious romantic element that works, despite the predictability, while they work together as a futuristic Bonnie and Clyde/Robin Hood. Then Cillian Murphy pulls off a great show with his head TimeKeeper role, (a cop) managing to really embody a 50 year old man in a 25 year old's body, through tone and movement with his deadpan way.

The setting and ideas involved are really unique, and will keep you interested despite the numerous plot holes and continuity errors that pop up. It's good to see an entirely fresh and independent story hit our screens for once, as opposed to the wave of adaptations, reboots and true-stories recently, so kudos to writer/director Andrew Niccol. Could you just imagine, a world where time is your money? Haunting, deep and somehow eerily believable despite its ridiculousness.

Released at any other time, In Time may not have been as poignant, being seen as merely some science fiction fun with a fast pace and neat scripting. However, as mentioned, in these times of economic imbalance the film stands for a lot more, even going to the extent of a near-social commentary of a film. Whether this was pure coincidence or an intention of Niccol's (who previously wrote The Truman Show) is unknown, but it sure gives it a relatable and intelligible edge that it may have lacked otherwise.

There still remains a plethitude of minor nuances to be found, such as a weak sub-plot, loose ends that never get fully established and an ending quite unfit to the rest of the tone. A couple things get dusted off in cheap ways, which seem like a harsh rushed way of finishing for certain parts and some directions don't quite justify themselves to full extent.

In Time is, above all things, a thought-provoking piece of cinema, blending a unique sci-fi plot with real world issues into a quick and punctual movie. It's got a real sense of independence, never borrowing from an identified source too long to be noticeable (although the nods to Logan's Run, Bonnie and Clyde etc are unavoidable) and when action picks up the pulse starts racing after some subtle subdued moments of tension. Slight niggles bring the overall quality down though and its running time of 109 minutes seems a little too generous.

Nevertheless, In Time is a film certainly worthy of your time, if just for the coolness of its plot and the significance of era-specific themes.
3.5/5 Stars

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