It’s probably because of the shadow of his ‘N Sync days that I just can’t seem to “get” Justin Timberlake. This, despite his various roles that actually promises of at the very least, a heartfelt and palpable screen presence. He had it pretty good on “The Social Network” despite being the only thing I picked up for less from it, actually the only good thing from otherwise repulsive “Bad Teacher” (seriously, you want me to sympathize to a no-good gold digger?), and (hard to admit) had an enjoyable run with Mila Kunis in “Friends with Benefits.” Here’s the thing, though, this movie hadn’t changed my mind about Mr.Timberlake. In my book, he’s still at the wrong end of the scale although had I put my cynical part aside, he might (just might) slightly closer to the center.
Now, two things I really love about this movie. The idea, and Cillian Murphy (I have no idea that he was in this movie, seriously, and pleasantly surprised to see him on screen). Andrew Niccol is no stranger to science fiction and what he offers about the future through “In Time” is both grim and fascinating to which upon learning it, I was immensely in love with. The future, or maybe, the alternate reality in “In Time” is that each person was genetically altered so that they stopped aging when they reached the ripe age of 25. In exchange, they were given one year to live, represented by a glowing countdown on their forearm which also advertises to others how much time left they had to live (or for the taking). In this world, time is money. Literally. A cup of coffee is costs 4 hours, a bus trip 1 hour, everything measured with time. Your time. It is the currency of the world, and the only currency at that. Some people gets very rich they’re literally immortal, some, like our hero, WIll Salas (Justin Timberlake) just barely made enough with their minimum wage to live day-by-day.
Very very interesting idea. In fact, I could see it turns into a TV series because I think, the two hours confine of a feature length movie is simply too small to contains the whole concept and consequences of such disruptive way of living. Not to mention the psychological aspect of having the option to live (and to some, already lived) for hundreds of year which only addressed in mere minutes in the movie. And so, the movie takes a much simpler approach. Will’s path crosses with Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of time mogul, Phillippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), and then inadvertently sort of “kidnaps” her. A sort of elite cop unit, called timekeeper, led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) is immediately hot on their trail. Will and Sylvia obviously develops a Stockholm Syndrome and the movie turns into a less than average, run of the mill action chase movie.
Disappointing really. I love the idea, the social discrepancy between the haves and the not-haves where so wide it is impossible to ignore. The haves could bet two hundred years of their life on a poker table while the average working class like Will found themselves waking up with only eighteen hours to live, extended by the end of their working day only if they get paid by a local factory, or from a time loan shark, or from other less legal means. Unfortunately, this issue was also addressed only for a brief moment. I had hoped that there’s some sort of Orwellian stuff at the end of the movie somewhere. I had none.
I still don’t have faith with Mr.Timberlake. He donned a very stereotyped young hero. Never once ambiguous, a proper bald head, and a just enough facial hair to give that rough impressions which I’m quite sure works very well with the ladies. But that’s it. The movie didn’t require much of him, and he delivered what he was asked for. Never exceeds. Cillian Murphy is once again, very comfortable in his role. I missed him every time he wasn’t on screen. Amanda Seyfried, well, let’s just say that she wasn’t my type. And her case of Stockholm Syndrome? Not buying any of it. In fact, I hated her so much I was so close of getting angry just by seeing her on screen. That’s how uneven the casting was.
All in all, great idea, terrible execution. I want to see more about timekeepers, about the economy of time as a currency, about the importance of time zones because I’m not sure I had paid an attention (or the movie simply didn’t bother or didn’t have time to really explaining things). Compounded with just so-so performances, it doesn’t go beyond just a mediocre action movie. Perhaps even less.