Fox // 2011 // 109 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // February 16th, 2012
Justin Timberlake may be in sync, but he's almost out of time.
Capitalism: To some it's an unfair system that should be done away with entirely, to others it's the only way for those not born with a silver spoon in their mouths to achieve any amount of success. But what happens if capitalism is overrun by cronies who utilize their status to grow their wealth in great amounts at the expense of the poor and the downtrodden? This is the essence of In Time; not necessarily a political message movie, but shows the terrible results that can take place when the powerful are allowed to operate completely unchecked. Whether you are for or against capitalism, everyone can find some common ground here.
In the not too distant future, people stop aging at 25 with the possibility of living forever. The catch is, once you reach that magic age, forever lasts just one short year. It seems hardwired into every human being is a clock that starts ticking towards your eventual demise, but time is currency and you can earn it in order to stay alive. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, Friends with Benefits) is a young man "living" from paycheck-to-paycheck. Through sheer force of will and hard work, he has managed to survive to the ripe old age of 28. When Will inherits a large amount of time currency, he is implicated in the death of the man who gave it to him. Now he must outrun both the law and the criminal element, in order to upset a corrupt system and remain among the living.
It's obvious from the first frame that In Time is pitting two classes against each another and, in the process, chooses a side with which align itself. Justin Timberlake is representative of the poor working class stiffs in the ghetto, trying to earn enough time currency to stay alive. While Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried, Red Riding Hood) is the epitome of the elite class, the spoiled rich girl who wants to piss off daddy and does just that when she becomes an ally of Will in order to bring daddy's empire crumbling down (can you say therapy?). The stark contrasts between these two worlds are purposefully obvious and, despite the overly simplistic portrayals of the evil rich versus the martyr-like poor victimized by both the greedy affluents and the hoodlums, In Time isn't Occupy Wall Street obnoxious, which makes for an enjoyable movie experience.
I guess you could say Will and Sylvia become futuristic Robin Hoods, stealing from the power structure and giving back to those who the currency rightfully belongs. But was the intention of the filmmakers to make some grand statement about corporate America and Wall Street? Or is it disclaimer time and any resemblance to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental?
Timberlake is pretty good as Will and the appeal of his character is that he's just trying to stay alive and keep the people he loves afloat. His character isn't a symbol of a political movement. Will garners sympathy because his goal is for everyone to have an opportunity currently afforded to only a chosen few. Will is an everyman, a hero, the one willing to step out from the crowd and do what's right. I'm just not sure the Occupy movement deserves that kind of comparison. Seyfried is good as well, but because the rich are all portrayed so one-dimensionally, her performance comes off as flat until she joins Will to right the wrongs being done. The chemistry between the two doesn't work as well as I had hoped. There's no real spark between them and even the scene where they intimate felt awkward and completely unsexy, which is ironic since Timberlake is known as the singer who brought sexy back.
Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens) has a small part as Will's mother, who's quickly running out of time as her son works hard to earn enough to save them both. We get very little background on either of them, and the fate of his father is intimated but never fully realized. This lack of a back story isn't a detriment to the film, but lends an intensity that might dissipate if we were to receive a full character background check. In Time manages to show that present time is most important, making the survival of Will more central than the details of his past.
One of my favorite actors is Irishman Cillian Murphy (Inception) who plays Raymond Leon. With those steely blue eyes and freakish cheekbones, he is perfect as the dedicated Time Lord whose job it is to keep track of time currency and maintain the status quo. Leon's hunt for Will is personal and only later do we find out why a poor kid from the ghetto warrants such hostility. Murphy's performance is intense and sometimes over the top, but it works.
In Time isn't brilliant filmmaking nor some grand political statement, which is fine by me. I'm sick to death of having to sit through a film and listen to someone's hackneyed POV, as if I care what their political affiliation is. I like my entertainment to be as non-partisan as possible, thank you very much. This is a decent film with enough thrills and plot twists to warrant a recommendation.
Presented in standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby 5.1 Surround mix, In Time does not disappoint on either front. This is once crisp and clean presentation. There isn't much in the way of bonus features. In fact, this is the weakest aspect of the DVD, with only a few deleted and extended scenes. Yawn...I really wanted to see how the film was made and how they came up with the visual effects used to show the internal time clocks.
What does it say about today's society when all the movies made about the future are bleak representations of what we will become? It seems that Hollywood believes the longer we humans hang around, the more likely we will ruin this place we call planet earth...and they probably aren't too far from the truth.
80% of the 99% should dig this film. Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, Descriptive)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Official Site