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Archive for the ‘In Time’ Category

In Time – review

In Time

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In Time is the new film from director Andrew Niccol who directed Lord of War along with Gattaca and also wrote the screenplay for The Truman Show which earned him an Academy Award nomination.  It is a film in which time truly is money.  It takes place in the future, or perhaps what I believe to be an alternate reality, in which people are allowed to live freely until they turn 25 (people also stop aging once they turn 25) , but once they turn 25 their time begins to run out, and they only have a year left to live.  This year is shown as an illuminated clock on their forearm slowly ticking down second by second.  People can work for a living in order to get more time added to their clocks prolonging their lives.  It can also be be stolen, which you think would happen a lot more than it actually does within the film, and also fought for through time fights (which involves holding someones forearm and staring at them for a while playing a don’t blink contest).

Justin Timberlake stars as Will Salas, a 28 year old factory worker who works in the ghetto of one of the numerous time zones that have been created.  The rich people on the other hand live in a time zone further away called “New Haven”.  It costs nearly a year of your life just to cross the barriers in order to get to it.  The rich keep getting richer, and the poor poorer as taxes and loan rates keep getting raised in the lower poverty zones.  Salas struggles to get by, racking up time for both him and his mother, who recently turned 50.  It’s a struggle to stay alive until Salas runs in to Henry Hamilton, a wealthy business man from New Haven who ends up at a local dive bar in the poor zone.  Salas helps him escape a group of time thieves who want the 100+ years of time that he is holding.  Once they escape Hamilton explains to him the burden of being able to live forever, and as they fall asleep in their hideout, Hamilton gives Salas all of his remaining time draining himself and committing suicide.  Salas then vows to set out to New Haven in order to find out who is behind keeping all of the time.

It seems time theft is tracked, and as Salas sets for New Haven he is being tracked by Raymond (Cillian Murphy), the head of the time police who believes he stole the time from Hamilton.  Once Salas enters New Haven he finds himself draped in luxury and soon gambling away some of his life playing poker He somehow finds himself in a private game with businessman Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men).  Weis just so happens to own the largest time bank in the world (not really sure how a random stranger gets a private poker game going with him but…).  Weis also happens to have a very gorgeous daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried).  Sylvia and Salas hit it off immediately and we are then thrust into a Patty Hearst + Bonny and Clyde + Godard’s Alphaville + Robin Hood –all the stuff that made the Adjustment Bureau cool divided by the better Phillip K. Dick novels +Natural Born Killers = some sort of ridiculous plot on the screen that is near impossible to follow.

There is so much material thrown in the film I wonder if the original cut of the this film ran close to three hours.  It’s near impossible to even grasp everything that is going on during the course of the film, and what’s worse is that their are so many plots and subplots that are brought up in the film and then never resolved or hinted at as it progresses.  We learn a little about Salas’s father in a story involving a conspiracy that may have involved the time police…but never find out what really happened.  We are told that the truth of who really owns all the time and why, lay within New Haven…but we never find out who or why is behind it all.   We are given this fascinating concept of a clock we can actually see counting down the seconds of the characters lives and then sent on a ridiculous joyride that never really delves into the heart of that concept.  Time is just given and taken away at the drop of a hat amongst the characters and it becomes meaningless really.

Timberlake by now has shown that he has the acting chops to hold his own in many films as a supporting actor, but when he is given the reigns as a leading actor I feel as if he leads us through a 90 minute Pepsi commercial flashing his pearly whites and running around like crazy.  I can’t tell you how many scenes involved characters screaming “RUN!”, or “WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME!” constantly.  I think I actually got a migraine from my eyes rolling in the back of my head over and over.

Andrew Niccol has shown that he knows how to direct a great science fiction film.  Gattaca was one of the most underrated science fiction films of the 90’s.  So it’s surprising that he gives us this muddled mess.  The film is entertaining at times though, and explores a lot of great concepts that kept me interested for a while, but overly I left the theater shaking my head in confusion.

Grade:  C-