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Monday, October 31, 2011

In Time (Release Date: 10-28-2011)

        In Time doesn't waste any of its namesake in arriving at it's central concept, so I'd might as well not either. As we learn from some hyper earnest/serious voice-over narration from Justin Timberlake, we are now in the future, and the economic structure has seen a few changes. In this world, each and every person stops aging at 25, at which point they have exactly One year to live, a quantity of time that, somehow, is tattooed to everyone's wrist, glowing green and ever counting down. This time is the currency of the world, Four minutes buying a cup of coffee, several months bringing home a car, etc. Our hero, Will Salas (Timberlake), lives in a district named Dayton, wherein workers toil and sweat just in order to have enough time to wake up in the morning and get back to their jobs. Far, far away lies a city where no such sacrifices are made, and fat cats live with the utmost certainty that, as long as they don't act recklessly, they will live as long as they like (Don't worry, this movie is not a political analogy... *wink*). The system is corrupt, and Salas is out to take it down.

        In Time was never going to be a bad movie for a simple reason: It's conceit is extremely interesting, as it holds up a sort of fun house mirror to our current socio-economic landscape. Because of this intrigue, almost all of the movie's 109 minutes prove engaging. This, however, has nearly nothing to do with the execution. Writer/Director/Producer Andrew Niccol gives the movie a somewhat boring visual pallet, and its hard not to wonder why, in this distant future, the time-keeping wrists are literally the only futuristic devises that ever seen on screen. Cops drive around in boxy, souped-versions of older cars, and the decadently rich still spend their time in suites, casinos, and luxurious dinner parties with classic decor. Way to dream big about the coming years, buddy.

        The script is also riddled with mistakes, the most glaring of all being its complete and utter aversion to developing real characters. Olivia Wilde shows up for Two scenes and adds nothing as Salas' mother, Cillian Murphy hams it up in a goofy, occasionally enjoyable but impossibly shallow, villainous supporting role, and Amanda Seyfried, bless her heart, was obviously signed on for her looks, and her looks alone. I don't really have any idea if she can act, but In Time doesn't even give her a chance to try. Timberlake, who has had some charming performances in the last couple of years, isn't really up to the task of going full-on badass (Watching him turn to the camera, straight-faced, and deliver lines like, "No one should be immortal if any one person has to die," is somehow both hilarious and painful). His finer moments are his quieter ones, making eyes at Seyfried, or having a heart-to-heart with his best friend Borel (Johnny Galecki). In Time is a mixed bag, a great concept adorned with middling execution. It will hold your attention, but you probably won't be recommending it to any of your friends. Time is just too valuable.

Grade: C-

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