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I went into this one with the lowest expectations, and boy was I wrong.
For one thing, before I saw his name in the opening credits, I had no
idea this was an Andrew Niccol film, and since he is the stylish,
stylized genius who gave us GATTACA, suddenly things were looking up.
Then, wow, this cast! Sure, I knew about Justin Timberlake and Amanda
Seyfried, but check out the rest of them: Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy,
THE BIG BANG THEORY's Johnny Galecki, WHITE COLLAR's Matt Bomer and
genre-It Kid, Alex Pettyfer. I mean, come on! How can a movie be
directed by Andrew Niccol AND contain so much of the pretty AND also be
science fiction and NOT be completely, exactly, entirely the kind of
movie that I would love, love, love?
Want to know why my expectations were low? I'd seen a snippet of the trailer -- which just looked to me like a bunch of TRANSFORMERS-style running around the place -- and had read the basic film synopsis sent to me by Fox Studios' publicity department. So what I knew was this:
"Welcome to a world where time has become the ultimate currency. You stop aging at 25, but there's a catch: you're genetically-engineered to live only one more year, unless you can buy your way out of it. The rich "earn" decades at a time (remaining at age 25), becoming essentially immortal, while the rest beg, borrow or steal enough hours to make it through the day. When a man from the wrong side of the tracks is falsely accused of murder, he is forced to go on the run with a beautiful hostage. Living minute to minute, the duo's love becomes a powerful tool in their war against the system."
Why was I hesitant about this premise? Because, come on! How many sci-fi tropes do you want to hit? Predetermined age-limit to combat overpopulation: LOGAN'S RUN, among many others. Being able to effectively purchase immortality: Elizabeth Moon's Familias Regnant series, among many others. Falsely accused and on the run in a future, dystopian society: hello MINORITY REPORT, THE ISLAND and who knows what all else! But you know what? Much like he did in GATTACA, where he took the already well-worn path of the genetically-superior being not necessarily being superior and made it his own, writer/director Niccol brings a freshness, almost a whole new sensibility to these and the other trappings of classic sci-fi he offers up to us here. We also get action, suspense, romance, humor, social commentary, gorgeous visuals and, as I mentioned, bucket loads of the pretty -- I would pay good money to see Matt Bomer and Olivia Wilde in anything; impossibly beautiful doesn't even begin to cover that blessed pair -- and wow, what a thoroughly, unexpectedly fun, truly thought-provoking and utterly engaging time this movie was. I am still flabbergasted at just how much I dug this. I actually broke into spontaneous applause as the credits rolled. And I can't wait to see it again.
But the big question: how was JT? He was, I will have you know, excellent. I have long felt that there was something effortlessly engaging about his whole persona, whether in interviews or on SNL or in roles as diverse as beleaguered rookie cop in EDISON, Napster hipster Sean Parker in THE SOCIAL NETWORK or squirrelly substitute Scott in BAD TEACHER. He doesn't really seem to act: he just IS. Here, he is an unlikely action hero, but somehow, he pulls it off in grand style, looking simultaneously earnest, dangerous and adorable, and easily holding his own even alongside someone the likes of Murphy, whose hypnotic eyes can convey more in one blink of an eyelash than many a lesser actor can get across in an entire soliloquy.
All of the other performances are top notch, particularly from Wilde and Galecki -- who brings most of the funny in the film -- and hey, you know who else is in here! Vincent Kartheiser, AKA Connor from ANGEL! And he's not bad at all, either. In fact, he and Pettyfer are our main bad guys, and both pull of criminal cool pretty damn well.
The long and the short of it? See this film. It's entertaining, it has a message, it is a feast for the eyes, and we definitely need to be encouraging more of this kind of genre filmmaking. True, it's not a truly original piece of work. In fact, in addition to all of the other things it reminds me of, it also brings to mind EQUILIBRIUM -- not so much in its content but in the way that it is essentially a mashup of a whole bunch of established ideas out of speculative fiction, but gives them new life (Equilibrium went with BRAVE NEW WORLD, FAHRENHEIT 451, 1984 -- and also LOGAN'S RUN as its inspirations). But that's okay; I really like EQUILIBRIUM, too.
In doing a little research for this review, I discovered that the ever-litigious SF luminary Harlan Ellison is suing Niccol and various studio-types for plagiarism, given this movie's similarity to his 1965 short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman." Having not read the piece in question, I can't comment, but considering Ellison's unrelenting pursuit of copyright infringers, one would think that if Niccol WAS to knowingly steal from anyone, he'd have picked a safer target. After all, most of the ideas in this movie can be found all over Sci-Fi, not to mention in Action, and Drama and Crime, as well.
But sometimes it's not about the provenance of the ideas, it's what you do with them. And here, Niccol has done wonders. (As long as you suspend your disbelief and go with the fact that Timberlake, Seyfried and the rest are, biologically, only 25. Luckily, Hollywood's been conditioning us to do just that for years.)
-- Rachel Hyland, Geek Speak Magazine
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me play the nitpicker here: First off, the idea that your "clock"
is always visible is pretty stupid to begin with. That's like us
walking around with a bank balance stamped across our arm. It should
become visible with a touch on the wrist or something.
The fact that all you have to do is touch arms to take time is stupid, ,too. There's no way to make it voluntary? No kind of security? I mean, it's you life for crying out loud!!
Will and Sylvia robbing their first time bank. How did they get a hold of an armored truck in the first place? All you have to do to rob a bank and get all the time you want is crash into the front? If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it! There are people dying in the streets everyday and no one has thought to do this?
Olivia's death, it was too cliché. Literally missing it by like a second? Come on!
Why would the lead Minute Man want to 'fight' Will? (also, they never made that concept clear until they sat at that table) Why wouldn't he just take his time and be done with it? He had nothing to gain from it. It was just weak writing in my opinion.
And what happened to that subplot of Will's father? They kept alluding to some great reveal or that Leon knew something Will didn't, but then the film just forgot about it. Are they trying to tell us that Will's altruism was hereditary? When Will got to Greenich, what was his plan? It seemed to me like he was just buying his way into high society and playing with the rich. I couldn't figure out what his endgame was going to be.
This one is again not a flaw, but can we all agree that car crash into the ditch looked just ridiculous? Terrible CGI and not believable at all.
And how they got the jump on Weiss, Sylvia's father. He's got more security around him than the President, but all you need is a pair of sunglasses to get the jump on him? Does the "security team" consist of random people who do not know each other? Then once you got him to lead you upstairs, all his bodyguards did what? Went out for lunch? Why didn't they go after him? Why weren't they waiting downstairs for him? Why weren't any alarms sounding? Stupid. So you have a million years in you hand and presumably only an hour on you wrist, yet you don't take any for yourself? I guess handing a little girl 999,999 years, 11 months, and 28 days just doesn't have the same resonance.
You can pay one year to get into Greenwich zone ... or you just walk in, there is no security or guards anyway.
"Wire me my per diem- wait, never mind ..." that was stupid. All he had to do was put his arm out. Also, it made it obvious from that point how Leon was going to die.
Conclusion: If you're the kind of viewer who can overlook flaws like this, I can see someone finding this movie enjoyable, it had an interesting premise, with a good cast, but plots holes you could drive a monster truck through.
Well this film was surprisingly better than I was expecting it to be..
Justin Timberlake isn't a very strong actor in my opinion, but he took
the spotlight in this one. Amanda Seyfried looked beautiful as ever
with her little bob, and the acting really wasn't too bad.
There's sad and happy moments all with that little bit of constant tension as you'll find if you watch it.
It was a really good concept and an enjoyable film, I gave it an 8/10 as I think they could've thought of a better lead actor but it was enjoyable none the less. I would recommend it to anyone, it doesn't really ever become boring and the tension keeps you focused at all times.
'In Time' was a film that I saw advertised when it was released and
thought it looked good but then I didn't hear any more about it until I
came across it on DVD. I'm glad I did manage to see this at last
because it was very enjoyable.
The plot for this film is very unique, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this. There was a lot of familiar actors in this (Cillian Murphy, Johnny Galecki, Vincent Kartheiser to name a few). The acting was very good overall I thought, even from Justin Timberlake in the lead role.
There was some good drama as well as good action scenes (car chases, shooting etc). It is the sort of film that will keep you guessing as to what will happen next and it was just a very interesting concept overall.
It would have been nice if there was a bit more back story though, it was never really explained why the world was like it was. Apart from that, just take it for what it is and enjoy it.
Would recommend it to anyone who fancies watching something a bit different.
Everyone is on a clock. What keeps the general population from
devolving into id-driven mobs is the fact that no one knows how much
time they have left on theirs. If you had a constant reminder on your
forearm, however, you might simply go about your life in a desperate
attempt to prolong it. Or not.
Will Salas (played by Justin Timberlake) is a 28-year-old factory worker whose one year clock started and aging stopped, like everyone else in the film, when he turned 25. He and his 50 year-old mother Rachel (played by Olivia Wilde) live in the ghettos of Dayton hoping to earn and save enough to at least see the next day. All while wages in the ghetto are constantly going down and the cost of living is constantly going up. Then, while out drinking with his friend Borel (played by Johnny Galecki), he learns of a man with more than a century left on his clock who has unadvisedly advertised his good fortune while in the same bar as Will and Borel. A local time-thief enters the picture and, rather than retreat like his friend did and advised him to do, Will comes to the aid of the fortunate stranger. While saving his life was all for naught, the stranger gives Will all the time left on his clock before allowing the time on his own clock to run out while he's sitting on a bridge overlooking a dry river basin.
"Time is money" was a phrase first coined by Benjamin Franklin. While the idea of reversing that concept to "money is time" is interesting, I don't believe the cast was up to the challenge of exploring it. Whatever success Justin Timberlake might've had in supporting roles, he doesn't have what it takes to be the leading man. Amanda Seyfried, whose role has her playing off Timberlake for a lot of the film, is another professional whose appeal tends to overshadow her abilities for some reason. Perhaps an independent production could provide actors with genuine talent, who are young enough to look the part, but this is closer some sort of CW melodrama.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to the movie with high expectation generated by really good
trailers. But the good part ends there. The storyline is too simplistic
and out of depth. The protagonist is modern day robin-hood who takes it
upon himself to rob time rich people and distribute the excess time to
the poor. He robs the bank with such an ease and without any resistance
that I wonder why anybody before him didn't try that!
The movie is a series of goof ups.
1) The girls gets her hand on the gun first time and she shoots like a pro.
2) She and the hero have and argument, runs down a long road, negotiate and sells the ear rings and then hide from the police but the two minute that was left of the girl's life doesn't end. ROFL!
3) When the chase between the cop and the protagonist begins suddenly the road turns lively teeming with cars and trucks and as soon as it gets over the road suddenly gets deserted.
4) The building into which the protagonist takes a man in course of saving his life is nondescript and empty except for two costly looking pieces of sofa kept right in the middle of the floor. As if somebody knew that they will be coming and arranged so that our hero doesn't face any discomfort.
Leave along the hero, even the villain does't lives up to the expectation and dies without a whimper. Clearly, the movie lacks strong storyline. The direction was without the direction and acting average.
Its a total waste!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's interesting that this film is coming out now, as the "Occupy"
movement is raging in several cities around the world. It couldn't be
more opportune for a film like this, which makes an obvious statement
about the concentration of resources in the hands of a few, and the
pain and complexity the creates in the lives of the many.
Justin Timberlake is impressive as Will Salas, a 28 year old man who is chronically living day to day, literally, due to the fact that he was born in a slum, in a world where your life span is the only currency out there. Of course we are left with no doubt that although he feels the pressure acutely, he is still very generous to the people in his community.
One night at a local bar, Will happens to meet Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), a man who has lots of time, but is weary after having living for more than a century already. Will saves Henry from a gang of time hustlers known as "Minute Men" by hiding out in a factory. It is there, after Will sleeps, that Henry empties his clock of all but 5 minutes, topping up Will's life span before leaving to secure a poetic end for himself.
Will all this time on his clock, Will gives some to his drunkard friend, and intends to use much of the rest to treat his 50 year old Mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde), only to get to her too late to prevent her from "timing out" for good. Devastated by her loss, Will decides to work to help others and shake up the system.
Along the way, Will is pursued Timekeeper Leon (played effectively by Cillian Murphy) and by Fortis (supurbly played by the gorgeous Alex Pettyfer) and his Minute Men gang. While trying to evade both men and their factions, Will takes rich girl Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) hostage...which turns into a romance There are some scenes that are fun to watch...among the funnest for me was the showdown between Will and Fortis. Fortis and his men capture Will and Sylvia, and as he was holding a personal grudge, Fortis decides to fight Will, man to man, as they do it in that futuristic day. Of course little does Fortis know that Will learned how to fight from his Father...and before he knows it, his men are shot dead, and Fortis himself is "timed out" (or in other words, killed) by Will. It is an excellent scene in a very good film!
The film itself however works because the commentary is so relevant: Will sees the system for it's cruelty, but as he works to change it, he's unable to do it without the help of Sylvia. Timekeeper Leon was once in the ghetto like Will, and he seems to be a fair man, but he believes that the system is the best one available to THIS society at THIS time...so it's best to uphold it and accept it. Fortis is the scumbag criminal (albeit gorgeous) who plays dirty and cannibalizes his own community to get ahead...so he likes the system because it lets him do what he wants to do. Sylvia is the curious and insulated branch of affluence who knows the system is unfair, but is unsure of how to change it.
Check out this film...it's certainly worth it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Its the year 2161 and genetic alteration has allowed humans to stop
aging after their 25th birthday thereby making it possible for them to
live forever. But due to concerns of overpopulation, the system is
tweaked so that money is replaced by 'living time' as the standard
currency and people must acquire more time through labor and commercial
means after turning 25 years of age, or die within a year. Will Salas
(Justin Timberlake) is a 28-year-old man who lives with his 50-year old
mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde) in the ghettos and works in the factory.
He encounters a 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), who has more
than a century on his clock and is attacked by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer),
the 75-year old mobster boss of a gang called the 'Minutemen', who are
infamous for stealing other people's time by force. Will helps Hamilton
escape the confrontation. Hamilton tells Will that there's enough time
for everyone, but it is being stockpiled for the rich to use in
becoming immortal. An upset Henry describes how he is tired of being
alive. He commits suicide, but not before transferring all his time to
Will. Raylond Leon (Cillian Murphy) and his Timekeepers investigate the
death and believe Will killed Henry for his time. So now Will is on the
run from the law. After the tragic and unjust death of his mother later
that night, Will promises to bring down the system and exact revenge.
He forages into the upper class New Greenwich and along his travails,
he meets the beautiful 27-year-old Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) who is
the daughter of the 90-year old millionaire, time-loaning businessman
Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). Will kidnaps Sylvia while escaping
If not for the extremely powerful performance by Cillian Murphy, this movie would have been less than mediocre. He brings a level of complexity and intensity which is much needed to the movie. A few scenes on his back story wouldn't have hurt. Alex shines in his role as the bad guy. This is the first time that I thought Timberlake was actually an able lead actor who could carry a movie all by himself. Seyfried was amazing as well. She was perfect in her transformation from a doe-eyed, young, bored rich girl to a fighter who is rebelling against the system and more so, against her father who suffocates her life. The movie isn't too subtle about raising the issue of the huge divide between the rich and the poor or the human bodies which lay about the ghettos in broad daylight while the people never seem to be interested in them and move on like its normal, as in our society. But it never came across as heavy handed. The movie could have done away with some of the cheesier dialogues and scenes though. The opening scene where we find out that Olivia Wilde's Rachel is actually the mother of Will amazed me. Her death was heartbreaking and Olivia played her role wonderfully. It was a bit disconcerting to see everyone being so young in a movie and yet playing the parts of mothers, fathers and family. Also the use of guest stars was done really well. Johnny Galecki had a forgettable outing, but Bomer really impressed in his short screen presence.
Andrew Niccol who has brought us really good movies such as Lord of War and Gattaca has let go of some of the intellect he had there. "In Time" is a slick action movie which is quite ingenious and has a terrific concept. Its like a Robin Hood movie, where time is the money. But it is almost undone by some of its fatal flaws in screenplay and writing. The lack of security in time banks and video cameras on the streets, Will infiltrating the security of Phillipe, the apparent lack of Timekeepers who are the law enforcers and many other improbable, jarring flaws. But it does make us look at life from a different perspective and raise interesting questions. Its not as good as it should have been given the rich narrative. Despite that it is entertaining and I enjoyed the movie. The way i see it, people will be highly opinionated about it. But in the end, I think it is worth a watch and definitely not a waste of your time.
OK, so I had high hopes for this movie. I saw the trailer and as a
closet socialist loved the clear underlying theme of the rich having to
keep many people down in order to maintain their power. So as I sat
down in the theatre I was hoping that even if the movie wasn't up to
scratch at least the underlying message would make it all worth while.
But from the very beginning there are so many flaws with this movie that I could not bring myself to enjoy it. The concept itself is so flawed that I could not bring myself to see past it.
The idea is that in the society of the future (which looks strangely like today but with slightly modified cars) there has been a breakthrough in medical science that stops people aging at 25. This is somehow achieved with the price tag that everybody must have a time display on their arm that counts ever down to zero. When you get there, you die. An interesting idea which brings up many good questions such as "is time rationed or is it being hoarded by the authorities?". Sadly these questions are lightly glossed over rather than any in depth exploration.
JT is a character in the ghetto and lives his life permanently "broke". This means he rarely has more than a day or two of life left. And here we come to the first major flaw of the concept. Everybody around JT is the same. They all have almost no life, "in the bank", all the time. And yet these people walk around casually drinking coffee (costs 4 minutes) and drinking in bars (also costs time) when they are just hours from death. Thinking about this for even a second it becomes clear that people this close to kicking it would be doing anything in their power to try and get more minutes. There would be no semblance of society as any body who was prepared to steal time off others would, and very quickly they would be the only people left alive. JT casually gives time to a girl on the street, a very nice gesture to be sure, however completely unrealistic given that at the time he had less than a day to live. Its all very well to give away money when you are broke but to give away time when you are about to die, that is a very different story. People this close to the edge all the time would act very differently from you and me, something this film does nothing to explore.
There are many many more flaws in this film but I won't go on about them. But the thing that finally tipped it for me was when they started trying to expand on the commentary of the capitalist system in the US by having outlets that lent time to the poor people in the ghetto for extortionate interest. These are the same people that seem to constantly have less than a day of life to their name. Once again this does not stand up to any real scrutiny. There is no way that a person who has allowed themselves to get down to less than a day of life is going to have any assets. If I was going to be dead in a day I am definitely selling my TV to try and get more time. I am certainly not likely to have anything that a loan shark considers capital enough to back a loan.
But enough of my whinging. In the end because this movie could have been so good I couldn't enjoy the aspects that where well done. I have focused on the story flaws because they are what annoyed me the most. I am prepared to look past JT's bad acting, I am prepared to look past the fact that the future looks just like the present but with cars that have slightly strange lights, I am prepared to look past all the poorly thought out and completely unnecessary action scenes and I am prepared to look past whatever was going on in that hand of poker. But in the end this movie is flawed from the very beginning when the society they create could never exist due to basic human nature. Very few people would ever allow themselves to be just days from death when so many opportunities exist around them to gain by taking advantage of others. This movie had so many interesting areas it could have explored but in the end it is just disappointing.
In the end if you are prepared to look past these things and you just want to see JT without his shirt drive round in a damn sexy old school E type jag and just generally be cool then you will probably enjoy this one. However if you are like me and have trouble ignoring the big holes in the basic concept and can't watch such an interesting idea be butchered then best to save the time this movie will take for something else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I honestly didn't know what to give this movie. The idea is truly
awesome and the movie is actually entertaining, which for me is perhaps
the most important thing. But at the same time it could have been so
The main problem is simply that it is insanely unrealistic. For example: why has the CELLPHONE been uninvented? They don't exist in the movie. Only phonebooths :/ The death of the mother could have been easily prevented with a simple phone call or SMS. And why on earth is the security in general so weak? It is WAY too easy for them to rob banks and do whatever they want. Just one guy and one girl with handguns. Why hasn't someone done it before? If I knew I was going to die in a few hours unless I robbed a bank or something I think I would at least TRY it. Would you? Doesn't make any sense at all! So in the end I'll give it 6 because the idea was great and the movie kept me entertained. But besides that I think it was a waste of a really good idea...
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