Today: April 19, 2024

In Time DVD

The clocks are ticking fast in In Time but can the story live up to the concept?

The clocks are ticking fast in In Time but can the
story live up to the concept?

Writer director Andrew Niccol is an ideas man, a
creative force who dreams up concepts outside the normal robots hitting each
other hard genre. This is the man
behind The Truman Show (1998), Lord Of War (2005) and Gattaca (1997). Gattaca in particular is a wonderful
spin on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and is easily one of
the most inventive and deeply themed films of the sci-fi genre. It is therefore with some hope that one
enters In Time. Here is a film set in the near future
where the aging gene has been eliminated, no one ages beyond their 25th
birthday and the only currency in life is time itself, the rich can live for
centuries, the poor literally living day-to-day having to toil in factories in
order to have enough time to get up and do it all again the following
morning.

On paper In Time
should be a resounding thrill ride with enough ideas to keep the mind firmly
racing and asking questions of the audience. A kind of Logan’s Run
(1976) for the modern age of cinema.
The problem is, while Justin
Timberlake
is more engaging than Michael
York
and Amanda Seyfried not as
alluring as Jenny Agutter, the film
stumbles into the realms of thrill ride rather than think piece.

Will Salas
(Timberlake) lives with his mother Rachel (Olivia
Wilde
) working hard trying to earn enough time to make it till the end of
the week. They’re in debt, owing
time to a loan company who seem to control much of the time economy. When Rachel runs out of time, causing
her death, Will is devastated.
However, he meets a man who gives him a century of time before choosing to
die having had enough of life.
Will is then able to live the high-life but in doing so has upset the
balance of power and finds himself a wanted man and hunted by The Minute Men, a
Gestapo like team of trench coat wearing agents, led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy). While on the run he meets, and takes
hostage, Sylvia Weis (Seyfried) whose father has time to spare. Before long Sylvia and Will are acting
as a kind of Bonny And Clyde of the time world, robbing from the time-rich and
giving to the time-poor.

The opening half
hour of In Time is engaging as we see how time is used as currency, five
minutes for a cup of coffee for example.
Even some of the ideas of making the most of your time pose a lot of
questions making you think. The poor,
for example, run everywhere, the rich leisurely stroll not understanding what a
precious commodity time is. Is it better
to live for the moment or simply enjoy what time we are given. Then of course is the notion that no one
ages. If anything this could open
up all manner of ideas about a ‘young’ girl seeing a much ‘older’ man, the
mental age would surely be socially unacceptable but the visual age is indistinguishable.

Alas much of
these ideas go to waste. Niccols
instead allows the film to plummet into a run of the mill chase gimmick that
bears more in common with John Woo’s heartless Paycheck (2003) than it does with Never Let Me Go (2010).
Add to this a visually stark utopia, as if someone has decided the near
future is drained of life and colour and aesthetic uninviting in both the rich
and poor districts and you wonder how things could have gone so wrong.

Timberlake is
always a fun screen presence, using his cocky charms to a more brooding effect
here. However, who ever allowed
him to run like a demented chicken on camera should be resoundingly beaten with
JT’s Sexy Back. Cillian Murphy is a fun, if obviously good at heart, villain,
while Vincent Kartheiser is doing an even more creepy version of his Pete
Campbell from TV’s Mad Men.
Seyfried feels miss-cast, attempting to be a seductive nymph one minute
before becoming a ditzy rich-girl and finally crusading vigilante and frankly
you’d think that being from rich back-ground she could afford either a better
wig or a better hairstylist. But
to be too critical of the performances is to miss the point that the script is
almost completely void of heart after Olivia Wilde bites the dust.

A great sci-fi
idea undone by a clichéd genre execution, In Time should have you sucked in by
its ideas but instead it will have you looking at your watch hoping the end is
not too far away.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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