When my friend asked me to see In Time with her, I went along. No questions asked. I’ll see anything. Good movies. Bad movies. Movies trying to convince that Justin Timberlake is the best actor to emerge from “The Mickey Mouse Club”. (That honor goes to J.C. Chasez. If you watch America’s Best Dance Crew you know why.)
Anyways, In Time is a sci-fi thriller set in 2161. (Wikipedia just told me this.) Humans are able to stop aging when they reach 25 but due to overpopulation, “living time” has replaced currency. You pay for everything in minutes, days, months, and years. In this system the rich can be immortal while the poor live day to day, struggling to get more time.
Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a 28-year-old who has lived his entire life in the ghetto. After helping 105-year-old Henry Hamilton escape local gangsters led by Alex Pettyfer, Hamilton gives Will his time (1000 years) and tells him to not waste it. Cue Will becoming some sort of Robin Hood, determined to destroy the system. Along the way, Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) the daughter of a rich banker, joins Will. The pair become a knock-off Bonnie and Clyde, stealing from the rich and trying to evade timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy). Though In Time has an interesting concept (it was interesting enough to keep me engaged), it is executed rather poorly.
Here is what I learned.
1. Are those numbers some sort of Holocaust reference?
Every person living in 2161 is equipped with an internal clock. (How you ever get to sleep with that thing blinding you is beyond me.) Time zones separate the classes and the poor live in the ghetto, forced to do hard labor to survive. Be honest. When you first saw JT’s internal clock counting down on his arm, you thought about the Holocaust. I can’t be the only person whose mind went there.
2. These two are no Bonnie and Clyde
At one point JT says to Seyfried, “We look good together.” Sure. If you’re into robots who love bobs, guns, and stilettos. During one chase scene as their getaway car is being shot at, I had a flashback to Bonnie and Clyde. Then I realized what was missing from In Time: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway appearing and shouting, “This is how you rob banks, bitches.”
3. Amanda Seyfried: Air Doll
4. In fact, Sylvia Weis was just ridiculous.
I assume that there is some point to Seyfried’s costume. (Perhaps something to do with anime?) But I couldn’t get over how silly and amorphous she looked. How can someone on the run find the time (pun!) to apply that much eye liner, get her hair into a cute bob, not rip her tights, and not break her ankle sprinting in four-inch stilettos?
5. Cillian Murphy is a fantastic villain
Cillian Murphy should always be evil. I think it is because of his wrinkle-free skin and fancy storm trooper attire. The only way to make Raymond Leon more evil would be if he were Southern or played by John Hawkes wielding a guitar.
6. Harry Potter cast offs are all the rage
Look! It’s Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini’s body doubles! They briefly left the world of being evil Slytherins behind to becoming Timekeepers. Can port keys transport you to the future?
7. I miss you Pete Campbell
Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser got to show his range. Eh, not really. Super rich banker Philippe Weis isn’t as in need of a hug like Pete Campbell, but he was still a super rich guy out of touch with everyone else. And just like Pete Campbell, Philippe Weis wears blue suits.
8. Something Oedipal is happening here
Olivia Wilde plays JT’s mom. Spoiler alert: she dies about 20 minutes into the movie. Though we didn’t have to suffer through Wilde’s wooden acting (a trend throughout In Time) we did have to deal with the lingering presence of the dead mom. Dead moms ruin everything. Later in the movie, Will gives Sylvia his mother’s clothes. Then in one of the last scenes, Sylvia races towards Will with her arm outstretched because she almost out of time. This mimics Wilde’s death scene. It occurred to me that had his mother not died, she would have been Will’s hot female sidekick and not Sylvia.
9. Chinatown references galore!
Okay, there was just one Chinatown reference and I made the reference, not the movie. When Philippe Weis introduced his mother-in-law, his wife, and his daughter, I immediately started muttering, “My sister, my daughter, my sister, my daughter.” My friend must think I’m crazy.
10. Don’t give women guns.
If I have learned anything from movies it is that women should NOT have guns. The whole “Sylvia Weis learns to shoot a gun” subplot is stupid. It is designed to make you think there is sexual chemistry between JT and Seyfried. It doesn’t work. She comes off as dumb and he is equally dumb for never once showing her the safety.
11. So. This is just about Occupy Wall Street?
I imagine writer and director Andrew Niccol was going for a sci-fi Robin Hood sort of deal with In Time. Conveniently Occupy Wall Street is going on just as In Time was released and this movie makes the 1% look more evil than do in real life. So luckily for In Time, someone will find this comparison endlessly fascinating and write an academic paper about it. That is credit than I will ever give in In Time.
I could keep going with this list but I’ll save my In Time meets Driving Miss Daisy theory for another day. So, did you see In Time? What did you think about In Time? Love it? Hate it? Do you wish JT would stick to hosting Saturday Night Live? Sound off below.