Thursday, 27 October 2011

In Time: Movie Review

In Time: Movie Review

In Time
Rating: 5/10
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser
Director: Andrew Niccol
Kiwi director Andrew Niccol returns with this sci-fi film, set sometime a few days after the day after tomorrow.
In this alternative future, people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy themselves more time. A green digital clock counting down on their arm signals how much time they've got left in life - but they have options to work to buy time and can transfer it freely between themselves. With me so far?
It's in this world we meet Justin Timberlake's Will Salas, who lives in the ghettos. When Salas finds himself in a bar one night with a man who's got over a century of time notched up on his arm, Salas ends up saving him from a corrupt gang preying on those who live in the ghetto.
However, the next day, Salas finds the man dead and all the time transferred to him.
Suddenly, the police force of TimeKeepers (including Cillian Murphy's character) is on his tail - and Will heads to New Greenwich where the rich live to try and escape the law and live his life.
There, he meets Amanda Seyfried's Sylvia Weis, the rich girl/spoilt brat who's desperate to get out of her father's clutches so that she can live a little.
However, she hadn't bargained for becoming Will's hostage when he finds himself trapped and with nowhere to run....
It's an intriguing concept and one ripe for sci fi trappings but In Time just falls short of its clever central premise.
The whole feel is starchly pompous at times and utterly silly at others. It's also a mish mash of other films; shades of Logan's Run, elements of Bonnie and Clyde and touches of Robin Hood as Salas robs time from the rich to give to the poor. With lines like "The poor die, but the rich don't live" and "Don't waste my time", there's some heavy handed hammering home of the ideas at play here.
That's some of the problem as the film doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Sure, there are thematic questions running underneath as the ethics of living and dying come up but they're mired in noisy chase scenes and plenty of running that they lose their intelligence too early on. It's a shame that Niccol resorts to car chases to keep the audience engaged when the central conceit is such an interesting one.
Seyfried makes a very sultry wide eyed naïf to begin with and Timberlake is relatively straight as he tries to become an intelligent action hero (which unfortunately he doesn't quite make), but the two just don't mix well and there's very little chemistry on display, making Seyfried's Stockholm Syndrome a little hard to believe in.

Granted there are some good ideas, concepts and designs here- the look and feel particularly of the day after tomorrow works very well - but Kiwi director Niccol doesn't seem to know what ultimately he wants to do with this film, which is a real shame.

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