Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Time (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
In a world where no-one ages past 25 and the time from people's lives is the only commodity, one man sets out to try and beat the system and make it fairer for those in the slums.

In the ghetto where every man literally lives from day to day, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives with his mother working as a labourer earning just enough time to keep him going until the next day. When he and his friend Borel (Johnny Galecki) encounter Henry Hamilton, a 105-year-old who wishes to end his life, Will finds himself being given over a century's worth of life for free.

With his additional life span, Will is able to skip up the social classes - which means a change in geography. There he finds the daughter (Amanda Seyfried) of a 90-year-old time lender and they set about distributing the time in a fairer manner. Meanwhile he must also steer clear of the resident police force, the timekeepers, who accuse him of murdering Henry Hamilton.

Very often films are released to contain a hidden political message and those that are most obvious tend to be released far after the incidents that they are referring to so as not to provoke a contemporary response. In Time opts for a different approach, poking at the very system that is currently failing in the world with a very clear message that will leave you thinking twice about saying 'wasting your time'.

It is a phrase we all use, referring to the amount of time that people spend on mundane activities or dawdling along in the street. In In Time (which I think would have been far better left as its working name I'm.mortal), the society has very little time to dwell on anything as to do anything vaguely leisure related is to literally have hours removed from their lives. The poor struggle to survive as the rich lap up extra life through higher taxes - leading to  such extreme differences in social class that they have to be split by a border patrol.

Many of the themes in the film can be likened to Robin Hood. The rich too should pay their way and Timberlake's character goes on a crusade to right what he feels is a wrong against his level of society. Again, parallels can be drawn in current events to the various riots all over the globe at the rise of society vs. the system.

As a film though, it is nothing really special. For a dystopia that has managed to advance sufficiently to genetically modify the occupants to age no further than 25 years (and then force the lazy ones to die after a year in order to control population), there is very little else in the film to suggest anything technologically superior to now. Also, for a system that has people fighting for their lives there is a distinct lack of crime outside of the small 'minutemen' gang.

Timberlake and Seyfried try hard with the script but there is never really enough emotional moments to help the audience relate to their situation. Luckily there is some reprieve in Cillian Murphy as the timekeeper Raymond Leon. He gives a thoroughly strong performance that will leave some people wondering exactly which side of the divide his character was on.

Overall, a thoroughly interesting concept.

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