Saturday, October 29, 2011

"In Time"

So... Sci-fi thrillers. Sci-fi thrillers can be filed into any number of places. They can be filed into the pure-fun adrenalin-rush kind of film that doesn't seek to say a thing. They can be just as mindless as your average crime thriller.

And then, they can use their hook to sort of comment on social issues that go down today.

You don't get cookies for figuring out which category today's movie falls into, just telling you now.

In Time

In the near future, man has been cured of aging: people will stop aging at twenty five, and now the amount of time a person has left to live has become the world's chief unit of currency. In this world, the rich live forever while the poor live by the days. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a man who lives in a ghetto in this world. When he is given a hundred and sixteen years by a mysterious, suicidal millionaire, however, he finds himself sucked up in something bigger. Along with Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), the millionaire heiress of a bank tycoon, he becomes a Robin Hood kind of figure to the poor.

So... I don't think I need to tell you what the movie discusses with its hook, or the fact that with Occupy Wall Street/The Nation picking up heat this movie couldn't have been better timed. But if I do... well, it uses this thing to discuss class divisions in modern day America. To this end, it plays with a lot of the possibilities involved with this world. It manages to do that thing that is most difficult in a sci-fi movie: it manages to explain how the world works without ever having to resort to telling the audience about it. And trust me, it's extremely effective, as the viewer gets more invested in the world and what it has to say about our own state than he/she would have if most of the rules of this world had been told to us.

In terms of the metaphor that is explored... Well, the metaphor is pretty appropriate, but if there's one thing I had to say about how it discusses the issue, I think that sometimes it stretches the metaphor a little bit. There is being subtle about a message, and then there is slapping you in the face with 'this is messed up'. It's a very neat thing to see just how much time as a unit of currency affects the proceedings, but there are a few points when the metaphor is stretched a little too far. Thus, the message tends to get overpowering, and at some points the movie actually becomes less interesting because of it.

But that said, it's still a reasonably entertaining little movie. Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried make for two very appealing leads, and at the end of the day, we want these characters to succeed. The entire rest of the cast (including Cillian Murphy and Alex Pettyfer in what I think is a career-changing performance for Pettyfer) is also quite good, and they make the most of their roles (even Olivia Wilde, who makes the most of the (almost literal) five minutes that she has in the movie). The action, while fairly standard, is visible and easy to keep track of, and so the whole thing more or less still comes together.

So while it does tend to stretch its metaphor to the point that it is bashing us over the head with it, In Time still manages to be somewhat successful for what it is. Honestly, I think the mark that makes this movie is that I thought the premise worked really well in the movie's universe. When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was going to be the silliest movie of the year, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. And nevertheless, it's a fun little thriller at the end of the day.


It has a few flaws, but is still worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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