JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AMANDA SEYFRIED CILLIAN MURPHY ALEX PETTYFER OLIVIA WLDE
In time, things are bound to repeat themselves; we see this all the time. Trends come and go and remakes, revamps, and sequels outnumber the original material. In Time, however, is a complete subtraction of so many elements from Gattaca, the 1997 film starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman (also the film that launched Jude Law’s career). Gattaca was an extremely subtle (I’m talking just barely) science fiction film. New Zealand born writer/director Andrew Niccol exploded on the scene in 1997 with Gattaca, a film ahead of the time and his screenplay for The Truman Show really turned heads. He faltered with Simone in 2002, mixed reviews on The Terminal screenplay and totally bombed writing and directing Lord of War. So, his most praised and respected film is the one he has chosen to “borrow” from.
Like many things in the future, money is now outdated, and time is the new currency. You purchase groceries with what time you have and you are paid in minutes and hours. Everyone has a thirteen digit clock in their arm; it can be shared, reloaded and even stolen, but if that time hits all zeros, you die. We now only age until 25, and everyone looks the same regardless of their true years. When you turn 25 your clock begins counting down. You start with one year and must work and survive by making more time. The poor live from day to day while the rich have thousands, millions, some even eons of time on their arm; some live past 100 years. Will (Timberlake) and Sylvia(Seyfried) are trying to wreck the system and give everyone an equal chance at survival.
In Time is better than the retardation that was I Am Number Four and while on the subject, Pettyfer is much better served as a bad guy here. However, In Time isn’t served well at all because it’s a big mishmash of other projects, beginning with Gattaca. A few things director Niccol copied from his own film: the near exact framing of wardrobe and running through a blind alley, the naked ocean swimming, and the future car engine sound as well as the car Thurman drove in Gattaca. Niccol even uses some of the same location spots he used 14 years ago and, while many new movie goers may not notice or care, Gattaca was an important film in my career and a picture I measure all other science fiction films against.
Everyone is costumed as if they were in a modern day Matrix, yet I can’t help but compare the actions and nature of Will and Sylvia to Bonnie & Clyde, except a futuristic version. That’s the entire problem; In Time isn’t original, but a version of other previous movies. If you analyze his concept of time, it’s no different than how we treat money as a currency of living right now. An obvious problem in the depiction is, while no one is beyond age 25, half the cast is (including Timberlake) and that doesn’t very well help their cause. The car crash is the most jolting moment in the film, not because it’s cool, but rather the opposite; it’s a toy car filmed to look like the real car and it's very, very bad looking. Timberlake and Seyfried do more running than Forrest Gump and Run Lola Run combined, Seyfried in six inch heels throughout. This is drowsy entertainment from a brilliant writer and director that could and should have done much better.
Final Thought – Gattaca + Bonnie & Clyde = In Time
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This modern day Robinhood story is exciting to watch and easily holds the viewer’s attention. We get glimpses of both the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and the lives of desperate families who must struggle for every minute of breath—literally. Time is money and money is time, as the saying goes, and time has become the currency of exchange in this fantasy. Andrew Niccol, the writer-director, may intentionally be presenting an allegory about the imbalance of wealth distribution in our country. A new study by the Congressional Budget Office reports huge disparities between growth in income among the top income earners (275%) vs. the middle (40%) vs. the lowest (18%) in the last 30 years (New York Times 10/26/11). Put another way, the after-tax income of the wealthiest fifth exceeded the income of all the rest of the population during the same time period. In Time is a rather scary story about what happens when masses of people are so deeply in need they have to compromise their principles to survive, and in counterpart, the “haves” must take extreme measures to protect their assets.
In this version of Robinhood, Will (Justin Timberlake) is shown trying to help his fellow men and women as much as he can with few resources. When he is given the chance, he goes even further by helping the daughter (played by Amanda Seyfried) of a wealthy executive understand where and how her father’s wealth was obtained—off the backs of the poor through inflationary cost increases on everyday goods and services. He convinces her that the system is immoral, and they proceed to “rob the rich [specifically, her father] to give to the poor.” The film illustrates how the system is maintained by law enforcement and fosters the
rise of criminal enterprise.
Unfortunately, the film contains some absurdities that detract from what could be a worthwhile parable; for instance, the heroine running for miles in spike heels, and the two main characters going through a barrage of bullets fired at close range without being harmed.