Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Time [ Movie Review ]

The Pitch

Andrew Niccol movies always have an interesting premises. Ranging from gene discrimination (Gattaca) to the gun trading (Lord of War), he had always weaved unforgettable stories from those premises. This time round, he is tackling a future where the aging gene stops at 25 and time is the new currency with Justin Timberlake.

Justin Timberlake, primary known as a pop star, has been making quite a few movies these days. His rendition as Sean Parker was quite outstanding and his latest leading performance in the romcom Friends with Benefit was pleasantly entertaining. I am aware that he has his fair share of detractors but I for one is interested to see where he is heading with his movie career.

Let's see how this collaboration turns out.

The Plot

In the futuristic world, the aging gene had been stopped and people stop aging when they reached 25 years old. In order to control the population, time has became the new currency.

The poor works from day to day to ensure their mortality. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is one of those poor who worked hard to earn minutes and seconds to sustain his life. When trying to prevent a robbery in a bar, he rescued a man with too much time on his hand and was looking for a way to end his life. 

While they were hiding out from their pursers, the "wealthy" man gave the secret behind the rich upper class and why the poor are doomed to be poor. While they were resting, he committed suicide by giving Will Salas the bulk of his lifespan .

Will Salas soon discovered that inheriting a "fortune" might not be that good after all. He was too late to save his mother from running out of time and the time keepers (the police force of this future) are hot on his heels. Will Salas then decided to do the unthinkable and take on the rich to try to right the wrong for the poor.

The Perspective (In Time movie review)

After Gattaca and Lord of War, In Time was a disappointing flick from Andrew Niccol. It has that novel approach of blending currency with time but it didn't come together well to build up an unforgettable story like what Gattaca and Lord of War achieved.

In fact, the characters felt lost and didn't know what to do after Will Salas gained the unexpected long life span. After the protagonist discovered how the poor had been exploited, there wasn't really any solid idea or plan in bringing a balance in the inequity in this futuristic society. Instead it spent the bulk in the protagonists played a cat and mouse game with the rather inefficient time keeper (their equivalent of police force). Things just automatically fall in place for the protagonist and it's hard to feel anxious for them even when their "bio-clock" was going to run out. There's also the additional subplot with a group of gangsters that gave the movie excuses to choreograph some action sequences which didn't really add to much to the story.

The upside of this movie would be that the novel concept of blending currency with time. It brought up a couple of interesting perspective on how we live our lives. The time we spend on and what we choose to do with the resources we have in hand. It also gave an interesting perspective on the lifestyle of the rich and the poor. On the bigger scale, it touched on how currency works in our society and why the gap between the rich and poor could not be closed. But of course, the manner which it tried to solved the inequity between classes was lazy and ludicrous.

Acting wise, I felt that Justin Timberlake did a decent job to carry out the protagonist role. But it felt like the movie didn't have much material for him to expand on his character. Like how the story falter for this movie, his performance went from engaging to boring as the plot plodded on. It's specially disappointing for someone who is hopping for another Ethan Hawke / Andrew Niccol turn out in Gattaca.

Bottom line In Time felt like a good concept that wasn't well executed. It pale in comparison with Gattaca and Lord of War. It was even less enjoyable than Andrew Niccol's second movie S1m0ne. It felt like a big drop in standard for the director. But even still, it's still a passable film with it's formulaic plot and it's still entertaining in it's own way. Perhaps if one didn't approach In Time with such high expectation, it might even be more enjoyable.

Rating: ***


Exclusive Comic Con Footage Trailer from In Time Official Youtube Channel

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