In Time (2011)
Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Matt Bomer, Vincent Kartheiser, Elena Satine, Alex Pettyfer, Cillian Murphy
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Time: 109 minutes
Genre: Crime, Sci-Fi, Thriller
USA Release: 10/28/2011
On DVD (USA): 1/31/2012
With many retro influences “In Time” attempts to bring a high-octane futuristic sci-fi thriller to the big screen. Although it has an interesting premise that deals with time being more than just something we happen to notice every once and a while. It lacks the very thing that could set it apart from other movies of it’s kind. With a star-studded cast, will “In Time” give you the kind of movie you want? Let’s find out.
In “In Time” we are taken to a future where people stop aging at 25 years old and time is now the currency. When your 25th birthday arrives your clock begins and you are given one year of time, so to keep alive you must get more time. Social classes are divided into “Time Zones” with the ghettos for the poor and New Greenwich for the rich. The story follows Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) he is in his 3rd year of being 25 (meaning he’s 28). He lives in the ghetto of Dayton with his mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde) both of them struggle day to day, with less minutes to live then hours in the day, which is the struggle of everyone in the ghetto. One night while hanging with his friend Borel (Johnny Galecki) they meet Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who has over a century on his arm but is tired of living. That fact brings the attention of Fortis (Alex Pettyfer) the leader of The Minutemen a local mob and he wants those minutes. Will helps get Henry out of danger and take shelter until morning. When Will wakes he is surprised to see all of Henry’s time now on his arm, as Henry commits suicide. Now Will has the attention of not only The Minutemen but also The Timekeepers, both of whom keep him on the run which leads him to Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried).
It’s hard to see a bad thing coming from this kind of story, but there it is, you may not see it during but after you will. While the story itself has many great things going for it, it’s also one of the very things that destroyed it. Andrew Niccol who wrote and directed this did a great job of coming up with the cool idea of time becoming the currency in the future. But many other aspects take over which just makes it unbalanced not only tonally but genre wise. While this is suppose to be strictly a science fiction thriller, I found it relying way too much on comedy with a lot more one liners than I’d like. As the story is very creative it is also kind of long, I found myself losing interest from time to time with overdrawn tedious scenes that would have been better cut down or out completely. Along with the tone being all over the place so was the structure one second we are watching “Bonnie and Clyde” then the next “Logan’s Run”. While the scenes dealing with the Timekeepers and the Minutemen are interesting it just seemed to not know exactly what kind of movie it wanted to be. Did it want to be a thriller or a comedy, a science-fiction film or a crime capper, if it was trying to be all of the above than it definitely didn’t know it. I know what your thinking like my review of “Footloose” it sounds like I really didn’t like this. Actually looking past it’s lack of balance it was kind of good and entertaining. When it did deal with science fiction or the thriller part alone it was doing really well. I enjoyed the life threatening difference between the rich and the poor, and how prices in the ghetto go up day to day and to travel through the borders you need a lot of time. I also enjoyed the parts dealing with time and how everyone wants their piece of it. The Timekeepers are trying to keep things balance whether it’s right or wrong and the Minutemen do the same but only care about themselves. In this you will see a lot of metaphors for corruption and imbalance in a flawed system. And even though Will and Sylvia are acting like “Bonnie & Clyde” it’s in more of a “Robin Hood” kind of a way as they do the worst thing of all, give time away for free by stealing from the rich (who are stealing from everyone) and giving to the poor.
As for all of the actors in this, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer and Johnny Galecki all do a good job in the respected roles that in total their screen time can be counted with one hand and even so they delivered decent performances. Vincent Kartheiser who is known best for playing Pete Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men delivers a stylish and sophisticated performance as Sylvia’s father Philippe Weis. Like all rich powerful men, he trust no one and is quite certain of everything, he is determent to keep all of his time, no matter what the cost. Alex Pettyfer who was seen earlier this year playing an on the run alien in “I Am Number Four” turns his sights on playing a bad guy and I was surprised at how much I liked him in this role, his British accent really helped sell how sleazy and ruthless he could make the character. Of course I can’t forget Cillian Murphy who as always does a fantastic job of playing a character with mixed messages, his character is a Timekeeper and as that he are not paid much more then folks in the ghetto but the cost of disobeying is way to high to risk, even if what he is doing is wrong. As for our two leads, Amanda Seyfried does an ok job playing Sylvia, she can definitely sell her looks and have the rich attitude, but that aside although she tires her best in this role I don’t think she was practically right I would have much rather see someone like Olivia Wilde do the role as she is much more suited for this. And as sad as it is to say this the same also goes for Justin Timberlake. As nice and charming as he comes off in this, whenever an opportunity came up their was a one liner or something more comedic to be said. Their were times that he was going ok, but I just was never convinced that he could really be doing all of this, and like Seyfired other actors in the movie could have done a far better job, to name a few Murphy, Bomer, even Pettyfer could have been more convincing. Now I’m not saying that Seyfried and Timberlake are bad actors, I’m just saying that they weren’t right for this movie.
Overall, “In Time” starts out with an interesting premise as it’s base but loses it among the similar stories of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Logan’s Run”. Although this story will keep you quite entertained as it tries to bring us back on track it never knows what kind of movie it wants to be, losing us again with mixed tone and constantly swapping genre. The performances among the cast are very good, but it lacks the right leads to balance with the great supporting actors.