Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Time

"In Time" is a modern day, or futuristic, telling of Robin Hood. The film is written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who has had some moderate film success over the years as a director with "Lord of War" (2005) and "Gattaca" (1997); and greater success as a writer with "The Terminal" (2004) and "The Truman Show" (1998). Andrew Niccol is known for being over the top stylish in his films, and he doesn't disappoint with the dystopian society that he has created with Dayton and New Greenwich.

The story begins with a narration from Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) describing a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year. Life is paid out a minute at a time and the rich can live forever while the poor die "young". The symbolism and metaphorical puns run wild in the script from how time is transferred from one person to another representing an hour glass, to the excessive use of the word time in nearly every conversation (e.g. "don't waste my time"). Will Salas is from Dayton (get it?), the ghetto, and finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage, Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) who is from New Greenwich (another interesting time zone metaphor). The TimeKeeper (Cillian Murphy) is chasing after Will and Seyfried as they become a Bonny and Clyde couple stealing time from banks and giving it to the poor.

The society is filled with clichés of young attractive people that all appear to be 25, but are reminded through dialogue that they are older. Will's mother is played by Olivia Wilde, who has been 25 for 25 years. The interesting thing is that Olivia Wilde is actually younger than Justin Timberlake, but that doesn't matter in this film. We also are presented with a society where nobody is overweight and the electric car is used exclusively. As the story unfolds, you can easily predict each step along the way.

I have been surprised by Justin Timberlake in previous films where he had a more comedic role ("Friends With Benefits"). However, in a more physically demanding performance he is difficult to watch. Him running from scene to scene looked like he was in slow motion on a treadmill with a blue screen behind him. Other visual difficulties in the film include one of the car chase scenes where the vehicle looks like a toy car flying over the edge. I have been critical of Amanda Seyfried in the past ("Red Riding Hood"), but in a weird way she surprised me in this film. Even her running in heels was more believable than Justin Timberlake. Cillian Murphy as the TimeKeeper and Vincent Kartheiser as the Evil Industrialist, and father to Sylvia, are both unable to avoid the one-dimensional writing.

It is cliché to say it, but I want my two hours back from this film. There isn't much that is redeeming in the film. I didn't anticipate much going into the film, but I walked out with less than I expected. The film is the latest nominee of the BeavTrash with only 1 Quack.

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