Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Friday, October 28, 2011

In Time

Don't Give It A Second Thought

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writers: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Matt Bomer

 In the future, men and women stop aging at 25, but are granted only one more year of life. If one has the money or the means, they can extend their one-year clock indefinitely, closing in on immortality.

REVIEW: Andrew Niccol, writer and director of Lord of War, S1m0me and Gattaca, returns to double duty as writer and director of his new high-concept sci-fi thriller In Time. Following in the footsteps of his sci-fi efforts for Gattaca, where society favored the genetically superior, Niccol now broaches a new twist on the same futuristic utopian concept - genetically altered humanity and society's effects on it longevity.

In the film In Time, people have been genetically engineered to age until 25, then have a remaining year of time that displays as a digital readout on the forearm. Set in a future where the currency is measured in time, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or years, people work to have time added to their lifeline, and pay for rent, food, and goods in the same manner. Once the lifeline counts down to zeros, the person will drop dead. In this future, which looks suspiciously like our recent past, people live in 'time zones', effectively separating the idle rich with their mansions and extravagance from the working poor with their time lending banks and ghettos.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake - Alpha Dog) is a 25 plus 3 year old who works all day just to have enough time on his lifeline to wring out a living day to day for rent and to add time to his mother Rachael's (Olivia Wilde - Cowboys & Aliens) lifeline. Long time friend Borel (Johnny Galecki - The Big Bang Theory) works with Will at the factory, trying to churning out assembly line time cartridge sleeves fast enough to meet their weekly quota. One day, a man named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer - White Collar) appears in the bar with over a century of time on his arm, bringing the notice of local ghetto thugs led by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer - I Am Number Four) who look to steal his time away. Will intervenes and Henry gifts his century of time to Will before timing himself out in a suicide. With all of the extra time, Will agonizes when he still cannot reach his mother in time to keep her from timing out herself. With the notable death of a rich citizen, Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy - Inception) is called to investigate his death. Now accused of murder, Will runs. Using years of time, he crosses several 'time zones' to escape the ghetto and enter the world of the rich. Eventually, Leon catches up with Will, setting off a chain of events that involves car chases, hostage taking, time bank stealing, and social and political intrigue.

Timberlake puts his best foot forward, but falls short of his performance as Frankie in Alpha Dog. Seyfried as Sylvia looks gorgeous and almost unrecognizable as the young heiress to the Weis banking and stock empire, walking the fine line between disdain, boredom, and regret. Murphy, his chiseled face and sharp blue eyes convey more than any of his dialogue. Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) as the elder Weis controlling more than just a stock portfolio brings his Mad Men sensibility to the role with a wisp of wisdom thrown in. Pettyfer's ghetto thug and enforcer Fortis adds a new dimension of drama as Salas runs from the Timekeepers, Weis, and the endless countdown of seconds.

Reminiscent of William F. Nolan's novel Logan's Run, subsequent Michael York 1976 film and television series of the same name, people live in a dystopic ageist future society where their lives are forcibly cut short at 30 years of age. When a person's palm flower crystal turns black on their 'Lastday', they are required to submit themselves to extermination. If they try to run, a Sandman is tasked with their return to the Sleepshop or with their immediate execution. 35 years after the original film and 44 years after the book's release, Niccol tries his hand at a slick new approach similar to Logan's Run's dystopic ageist future society theme.

In Time makes Logan's Sandmen obsolete by making people drop dead when their timeline zero out. But the fact that time can be gifted, inherited, or stolen between people provides new dynamics to explore. Instead of an forced utopian society based on a limit of age, In Time is based on time. While the poor can barely scrap together enough hours to survive another day, the rich barter and save their years and decades. And when the ghetto class may verge on moving up in the world, the cost of goods and interest rates controlled by the rich rise to knock the poor back down.

A wonderful high concept sci-fi film in theory, a satisfying first act ends and is replaced by strange humming vehicles from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, overly sparse landscapes, and lots of running. Many elements are cool and well-thought out, but the overall story and tension falls flat. The worry of running out of time like sand running through an hourglass seem to come to a standstill when you can swap seconds and minutes as easily as gum.

WORTH: Netflix

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