May 11, 2012

In Time, Should you waste your Time? [Review Time]

For a few to be immortal, many must die.
I really didn't want to say the same thing as everyone else about this, but it seems the consensus is entirely correct. In Time has an incredible concept which was beautifully timely (heh) considering the film came out right in the middle of the Occupy movement, and it was even well-executed from the start. There's no bad exposition here and it's not even a heavy-handed metaphor. You'll be surprised how naturally money becomes time and time becomes money. I loved the first half hour so much I watched it twice. I recommend that you watch this movie for that first half hour or so, but then you can turn it off. The timer will make you feel like you shouldn't be wasting your life away, so don't.

I find everyone's obsession with Justin Timberlake as an actor incredibly amusing. He was entirely brilliant in The Social Network, which I recently rewatched and was bewildered by. But that was a fluke. He managed to come off as a crazy rock-star genius because yes, as the lead singer of a 90's boyband he's probably crazy and has to have some charisma, but In Time will remind you he's still the lead singer of N'Sync. Casting him as a hero was just a mistake. He's no hero in The Social Network; that was a tasteful choice. Think about it for a sec. Who's a cooler hero, Jack Bower or A New Hope's Luke Skywalker? Luke is way too much of a white knight. It's very boring. And Mark Hammel? There's a reason why Han Solo is cooler than cool and it's because Luke is just not. Do you want to see JT play Luke Skywalker? Ugh. He's not terrible in In Time, just typical. But the casting could have been better.

Amanda Seyfried, on the other hand, was sweeter than sugar and I have no qualms with her whatsoever (except for doing Red Riding Hood and Jennifer's Body. But as an actress in this she's pretty cute). I have to mention that Angel's Vincent Kartheiser was great as her father, and Cillian Murphy was detestable as the villain as always. He's so great of a slimy villain I think I would sock him in the head if I ever saw him in person. Olivia Wilde was Olivia Wilde, as to be expected. She's been flawless in everything I've seen her in.

Back to the film itself. Good things: there is some incredible tension with the device of the timer, the character relationships and chemistry were dead on, and it was very thought-provoking at the beginning.

There is a beautiful thing in this world called debt. Okay, debt sucks, but it's better than the world of In Time where there is no below zero. If your clock reaches zero, you die. If someone robs you and leaves you nothing, you die. If you mismanage your money... If you give your son half an hour so he can have a decent lunch and then the bus ends up costing an hour more than you expected... I'm crying here. This was actually brilliantly done and I wish there had been more of it. Instead of going off on a Robin Hood adventure it would have been nice to just see more of how people coped with the cards being stacked against them and being killed off just by inflation.

The relationship between Will Salas (JT) and his mother (Olivia Wilde) was very nicely established in just a few short scenes. Yes, Wilde was younger than Timberlake when she played his mother. Everyone in this movie looks 25, which you should look out for when you watch it. Pure eternal youth! It's pretty neat. Weis (Kartheiser) has a weakness for his daughter that is just adorable and quite believable, but don't worry about that. We already established you're not watching past the first half-hour.

Bad things: As everyone else's review you've read says, the switch from intriguing sci-fi to mindless action flick was a huge letdown. From the director of The Truman Show and Gattaca, I'm incredibly disappointed. This reminds me of my experience with Michael Bay's The Island. I've only watched 3/4 of The Island and I quite enjoyed it. The dvd froze on me and I never got past the clone's confrontation with his maker. For a long time I meant to go back and re-watch/finish the movie, but then I read some reviews and took a look at Bay's other work, and it turns out, that last 1/4 of the movie is just absolute action-packed tripe. Car chases and gun fights and not a shred of the creativity the beginning of the film exhibited. I also felt this way about Avatar. It had some potential for character development and an interesting concept at the beginning, but Cameron blew it. This seems to be a pattern, and it's such a cop-out. You establish a really cool concept, decent characters and the beginning of a plot, and then you go, where do I take this plot? And you take the easy way out. The stronger swordsman wins. Lame.

Don't believe me? Watch the movie. Time for a spoiler just to show you how shallow this gets. Cillian Murphy, as mentioned, plays our antagonist, a police-figure, or Time Keeper called Raymond Leon who wants to arrest Will Salas (JT) and Sylvia Wies (Seyfried). There's a car chase, there are shots fired, the suburb becomes a war-zone. Leon confronts the heros! Salas reveals that Leon was originally from the suburban ghetto, and there's an opportunity for some kind of resolution here between the characters, but do we take it? No. Leon dies of sheer stupidity because he has allowed his clock to run down. He zeroes out and just dies. Deis ex machina? Not exactly, but it's close.

In Time had some good moments but you're better off doing something else with your hour and a half.

Get it in blu ray.

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