Film Review: In Time (2011)

Directed by Andrew Niccol

Produced by Marc Abraham, Amy Israel, Kristel Laiblin, Eric Newman

WRitten by Andrew Niccol

Music by Craig Armstrong

I haven’t done a film review for a while. I’ve been so busy with school but here goes nothin’. One thing that I absolutely loved in this movie is the concept of equating time with, literally, money. People don’t age past twenty-five, and once you reach that age your “clock”, ingrained into your genetics, begins to tick away. The green, flashing digits on your arm indicate how much time you’ve got until your heart gives one last violent pump as all numbers turn zero. In the ghetto, each day you’re working for your life–spending hours to earn more hours in order to live. A cup of coffee cost four minutes. A bus ride is two hours. The world is dichotomized into the rich and the poor, separated by time zones that are extremely expensive for “poor” people to cross. The rich gets richer and marches towards immortality. The poor works their butt off, exploited by the rich and their desire to live forever and easily end up dying when they can’t afford the raising cost of living.

The whole concept is cool. Finally, something that isn’t an adaptation or a Hollywoodized fairy-tale film. The film industry is running out of ideas, and all we see right now are remakes, remakes and remakes. Nothing is original anymore! Therefore I was quite glad that “In Time” wasn’t part of the formulaic recycling that currently abound.

However, I must say that as much as I loved the movie and its conceptual aspects, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of care it gives to its characters. “Inception” sat brooding in Christopher Nolan’s head for ten whole years, and then smashed out as an epic hit. I just wished “In Time” had more time to further develop its characters, conflict and plot. If it wasn’t for its originality, it would have crumbled upon examination. I knew when I had to question a movie’s logic, something’s got to be wrong with it. For one, because Will lived in the ghetto for 28 years…he’s automatically capable of using a gun? With perfect aim, too. He shot three men in less than a second with fatal accuracy. Also, he’s an expert poker player, which won him ten centuries of life against Philippe Weis, a time-loaning businessman who is filthy rich. Somehow he’s managed not to stay out of authority’s reach with Sylvia (Philippe’s daughter, who falls in love with Will) after robbing several banks. They are somehow completely unaffected by society’s cynicism; I just kept expecting the crowd to get ugly, but that violence wasn’t there, which, in my opinion, stands incongruent with the entire world-setting–that the world is dangerous and cold, and having the slightest wealth will get you killed because everybody wants to live.

I guess as the protagonists of the story does give them a certain immunity, but the only danger they face throughout the film is one, running out of time (dying) or being chased down by the time keeper, Raymond Leon. At this point the story becomes a little cliche–Will is Robin Hood, robs the rich and saves the poor. He’s fighting the system with his lovely girlfriend. He’s determined because he’s lost his mother, who runs out of time because the bus driver refuses to give her a ride since she doesn’t have enough time on her. That’s what motivates Will in the first place to change the world. Normally the movie would have fallen apart by now, because I can’t stand stories like this. If it wasn’t for the time=money concept and the various allusions to that idea throughout the movie, I would have died of indignation. (If you want to see the ugly side of me, feel free to check out my other film reviews…I tend to rant a lot.)

And side-track a lot. Anyway. I can’t say I loved the movie, other than that I love the concept. It would have been so much better if…if the director just put in a tiny weeny bit more of an effort to build stronger characters and a more coherent, solid plot. The whole thing is a bit wishy-washy. The ending totally didn’t make sense. Where’s the rest of the police force? I reckon if two people are messing with the entire structure of society, especially jeopardizing the wealth of those rich businessman during the process–I mean—they’re so gonna get it. The rich most definitely have the resource to chase them down. I just feel bad for Leon. It’s on him all the time. And there didn’t seem to be a central villain in the story–like the opposing forces are so scattered at times I don’t know what Will and Sylvia are fighting against. They run, they buy time, they rob more banks to save people…etc etc. I see a dead-end.

Here, Rotten Tomato sums it all up: “, “In Time‘s intriguing premise and appealing cast is easily overpowered by the stilted filmmaking, which takes a blunt, heavy-handed approach to storytelling.”

Agreed.

 
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