Another film crossed of the list. In Time was another one I’ve been meaning to watch for a while, and have finally gotten around to. Judging by the paltry number of stars I’ve doled out, I probably could have waited longer.
In the future; at least we assume it is the future…a lot of the technology didn’t look like it’s advanced much past the present day though; anyway in the future, people have been genetically re-engineered, and at birth are given a year to live, that commences once they turn 25 years old. Everyone stops aging at 25, and live out whatever time they have. Now “time” is the currency, and a glowing green set of LEDs counts down your life on your wrist for all to see. A coffee costs three minutes, people are paid for their jobs literally “by the hour”, and when your minutes run out, you die. It is said that barring something unforeseen, the rich could live forever. One rich man heads to the ghetto with a century to spend, and the unforeseen happens. He is about to be mugged, and a mugging can be fatal. Enter Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who saves the mugging victim from a gang of hoodlums, and brings him to safety for the night. The two discuss the currency of time, with the rich man revealing he is 105 and tired of life. He tells Salas how “for a few to be immortal, many must die”. Your mind can be spent, even if your body’s not. People want to die, and need to die. The government needs people to die too, by raising taxes in the poorer zones, they ensure that the population stays under control. When he awakes Salas finds the man has given him his time, and quietly left to die. Salas runs to the man, but arrives too late to give him some time and extend his life. Though Salas has to decide how to live with the extra time he has been given, the Time Keepers; who are essentially police, and led by Cillian Murphy; think he must have stolen the time and begin their pursuit. Salas heads to the ritzy capital, finds a mysterious, rich girl with daddy issues played by Amanda Seyfried.
I haven’t seen a good science fiction flick in a while, the last one I really enjoyed (off the top of my head) I think was Moon; and In Time was no Moon. I was pretty disappointed by this one. What started out as a great idea, slowly degraded into a very poorly acted, “futuristic” version of Bonnie and Clyde.
I don’t know who besides Timberlake himself thought he should have been nominated for an Oscar in Social Network; but in this film, he was just did not deliver. The sudden about face in Salas’ character was poorly done, and made his “Robin Hood” act very unbelievable. He seemed bored, and had a hard time conveying any range of emotion. Amanda Seyfried was nice eye candy, but again, really, did not deliver, and had very poor chemistry with her leading man. The actor playing her father, Vincent Kartheiser, was an abysmal casting choice. I cringed every time he had a scene. If he was placed in a paper bag in this film…well you know how the saying goes. None of the characters are developed enough; and it’s difficult to get a sense of who these people, from opposite worlds, really are. The only actor I really enjoyed in this film was Cillian Murphy. He fit. An excellent performance from one actor though, cannot save the cast.
As I touched on earlier, you really did couldn’t tell if we were supposed to be in the future or not. There was not a lot of “future technology” on display, aside from the “time currency” devices. The cars were a lot of vintage 1970’s models with updated lighting and electric sounding motors. I will admit that the cars were pretty cool looking; and the chases scenes were among the few high points in the film. Also please note, that my appreciation for the cars in the film have nothing to do with the fact that I drive a ’77 Ford Granada….though my car is awesome.
I think one of the key problems with In Time was Andrew Niccol who was writer, director and producer. He had a great idea, but may not have been able to distance himself enough to see it through to what is should have, could have, and would have been. I found myself several times checking how much time was left in the movie, which is never a good sign. A film that I had such high hopes for could not even hold my attention for the full hour and forty-nine minutes. There were moments in this film that were truly enjoyable, but they were few and far between, and certainly not at the very unbelievable climax, which I think was a giant plot hole or continuity error that they glossed over to finish the film. Sad to say it, but I was very disappointed with In Time.