In Time Directed by: Andrew Niccol Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser Running Time: 1 hr 49 min Rating: R Release Date: October 28, 2011
PLOT:At some noncommittal point in the future, we have been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25. The downside is that once you reach 25, you only have another year to live. To survive, you must accrue more time on your life clock. Appalled by the inequality of the system, attractive people run around with guns.
WHO'S IT FOR? The concept is very, very cool. If you can be happy with a concept and overlook the vast plot holes, you will have fun with In Time.
EXPECTATIONS: I had no clue going in. I hadn't seen a preview, I didn't know who the stars were, and I was excited by the mystery.
Justin Timberlake as Will: Somehow JT has managed to throw off the shackles of being too pretty, in a glam boy band, and having a voice that borders on effeminate. No one should take this guy seriously in an action role, because he has a lot of cutesy baggage. But you do. You will. He's a solid actor and he does well as the rough-on-the-outside dreamer from the ghetto. Timberlake sails along without straying into camp or trying to hard, and he's a lot of fun to watch. Score: 8
Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia: Sylvia, the character, doesn't make any sense, but that isn't Seyfried's fault. She takes all that inconsistent, amorphous character slop and turns it into something watchable. Seyfried looks fantastic as a red-head with a bob haircut, reminiscent of a willowy, enigmatic flapper from the '20s. Her primary duties include gazing up at Timberlake from underneath heavy eyelashes with her big, sensuous blue peepers; and dashing impressively about in short skirts and five inch stilettos. I didn't even know it was possible to move that fast in stilettos. It's irritating and distracting when the character is constantly flip-flopping to further the plot, but Seyfriend herself is delicious to watch. Score: 8
Cillian Murphy as Raymond Leon: Hey, it's the Scarecrow from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight! I had to consciously tell myself, every time Murphy was on screen, "No, that's not the Scarecrow; that's this Leon guy. Just go with it." It didn't help that Murphy's face is strangely immobile the entire movie. Yikes! Scarecrow! No, no...that's not the Scarecrow... Score: 6
Vincent Kartheiser as Philippe Weis: Kartheiser is great as Weis. He's pale and bland, with dull blue eyes, and a kind of resigned amorality--it's not that he necessarily likes being evil; he's just doing what he does. And actually, he's a little tired working so hard to be corrupt and wishes everyone would just get off his back. It's too bad the movie never gives you a good enough reason to dislike him, other than, "Look, a rich guy! GET HIM!" He's a weasel, like a million other corporate weasels before him, and because he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, he ends up the sole representative of a nefarious system. So it's not that he's likable, exactly, but I did find myself feeling a little sorry for him. All he did to evoke all this personal and professional destruction was invite Timberlake's character to a party. No more inviting Timberlake characters to parties. Score: 7
TALKING: The dialogue is quick and fresh, which is weird. You'd expect more clichés when the characters themselves are so uni-dimensional. There are several funny, surprising lines, and it helps us traverse the plot holes. Enjoy the better-than-average dialogue until you get to the next time exchange scene. Score: 8
SIGHTS: Wow. For being so advanced, the future sure is boring. The scientists, politicians, and businesspeople must have been too wrapped up with the whole immortality thing, to upgrade the rest of it. The cars are futuristic-looking and they make enjoyable, futurey vroom sounds, so there's that. Score: 2
SOUNDS: It's a pretty standard action movie score, which isn't a bad thing by any means. There are a good deal of stressful moments in the film, and the movie uses its score to amp up the anticipation. The song during the world's most boring car chase tried very hard to help out, but it couldn't do the impossible. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: As stated, I enjoyed every scene involving time used as currency. When Timberlake eats at his first fancy restaurant, he leaves the waitress a two-week tip. So cool.
ENDING: Naive and implausible. Although, future police are morons and there's no security anywhere, so maybe they'll do just fine.
QUESTIONS: So, it's the future, but none of the time banks have any kind of advanced security? Is it just kind of, sort of the future? If this is the future, why don't any of the women wear comfortable tennis shoes so they can, I don't know, say, run for their lives or elude capture or not die dramatically in the arms of their son?
REWATCHABILITY: It would be a great fluff movie on a stormy night if you were properly set up with popcorn and a glass of wine. I wouldn't pay to see it again.
I loved all the ways the movie came up with to show time being used as currency. Everytime it happened, I was delighted all over again. It was so creative and such a cool concept, that it actually made me giddy. It also insured my enjoyment, because I was so excited to get to the next time exchange, I forgave the undeveloped characters, the massive gaps in the plot, and the unusually humdrum car chase. I love me some violent, high-speed car chases, so don't mistake this for some sort of girly squeamishness; it's the most boring car chase in the history of the world. Cave people would have been bored by this car chase, and they were probably pretty easy to entertain.
And the inconsistencies bogged the movie down. It shows us that the system is bad for thirty minutes. After Will experiences tragedy and sneaks into the richest timezone, he meets a random rich guy at a casino and wins a bunch of extra time off him. Random guy invites Will to a party in such a bored way, it's obvious he doesn't care if Will goes or not. This is our bad guy, folks. If our bad guy isn't even that invested in outcomes or consequences, why bother?
After Will and Sylvia spend, what appears to be, five minutes acting impulsive and having a dialogue about what it means to be free; Will takes Sylvia hostage to escape the party. Sylvia's dad happens to be none other than our villain on quaaludes, who looks only mildly concerned that his daughter is being kidnapped.
Sylvia doesn't make any believable effort to get away, and after her father makes it clear that he doesn't care if she's killed--because he doesn't care about anything; he could have crapped in his pants three weeks ago and gone on wearing those pants, free as a lark--Sylvia decides to help Will rob banks.
It's amazingly easy to rob banks in the future. It's also easy to tool around in a stolen cop car; or outrun the police force repeatedly; or hide from the law in your own apartment (convenient, that. The future's not all bad).
And it's so easy to do those things in the future, because there are, like, three security cameras in the whole area--and one of them doesn't even work right. It's trained on the bridge the entire time, which should have exonerated Will instantly. Instead, someone mumbles something about there being a gap in the footage, so they can't be sure what happened. What the hell kind of lame asses conceived this future, anyhow? You can genetically engineer people to stay twenty-five for a million years, but the security cameras are still a bit glitchy.
And time passes in a way that benefits the characters. This is fine (all movies do that to a degree), but the movie keeps showing us how much time is left. It explicitly shows us how Will has ten seconds on his life clock, and twenty-five seconds go by, and then we see that Will now only has three seconds, it's annoying. The characters only have forty-five seconds to get to the car! Oh no! They argue around about who's faster, hug affectionately, take off running, and now they only have forty-two seconds to get to the car! Oh no!
So ignore all that. If you want to see the movie, know that a lot of it won't make sense or it'll be so improbable, it's borderline MST3K funny. The concept, by itself, is a remarkable one; focus on the concept.
Still, you might want to avoid the two robots sitting in the very front, because they will talk sarcastically the whole time.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10