In Time, 2011.
Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol.
Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy and Olivia Wilde.
In a future alternative reality where currency is time - and if you run out of time, you die – Justin Timberlake fights the system to bridge the gap between the immortal rich and the unbearably poor.
The premise of this film is that no one ages over twenty-five, so the first thing that strikes me about it is how very young and beautiful everyone is – albeit likely not to be twenty-five in real life (see Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Philippe Weis in the film, and spends the majority of his scenes looking like a vampire).
The settings of the rich New Greenwich are spectacular and the digitalised aspects of it absolutely seamless, contrasting pleasingly with the slums at the opposite end of the spectrum. I can’t help but think that the art directors could have done more with the budget they had. Whilst the scenery, like the casino and the Weis’ household, are clearly luxurious, they’re not really all that opulent, in the lethargic, Gatsby-esque fashion that the movie suggests they should be. Beyond that, car chase scenes a-plenty and visions of abandoned waste-lands create the gritty underside of this reality which I’m sure director Niccol wanted to achieve.
The acting, unfortunately, is average on all parts here: the only redeeming feature is Cillian Murphy’s consistently excellent performance as a detective of sorts, or a “Time Keeper” in the film. Murphy was perfect casting for this role, and he plays the typically surly character very well. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see more depth to his character or a back story during the film.
Justin Timberlake and his leading lady Amanda Seyfried are big fat clichés. The romance storyline which emerges from the poor-boy-rich-girl premise is unbearably predictable, along with Timberlake’s character (Will Salas) who is weak and two-dimensional, and is played two-dimensionally. Honestly, I think Justin Timberlake should stick to light-hearted comedy roles.
Amanda Seyfried’s character, on the other hand, is a bit more interesting, and played far better. This role is the first of its kind for Seyfried in her acting career, and it really shows how she’s progressed. Her character, Sylvia Weis, is a strong defiant female who rebels against her position as a rich daddy’s girl to join Will Salas in his quest to liberate the ghetto where he lives. First and foremost, I have to give her massive kudos for spending every single scene of the film sprinting around in 8-inch platform stilettos. Her transition from poor little rich girl to foxy fugitive on the run is well executed, and whoever styled her did a damn good job too, besides the silly unrealistic stiletto thing. Seyfried and Timberlake do have chemistry, but nowhere near as much as Timberlake did with Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits, and Seyfried with Channing Tatum in Dear John, which is a shame.
Overall, the premise of the story is an interesting and engaging one (although I can’t help but draw far too many parallels between this film and another of Niccol’s: Gattaca). The plot of it, though predictable at points, is equally as engaging and the action sequences exciting. Unfortunately, the acting, particularly of Justin Timberlake, lets the side down. This doesn’t detract, though, from the slick visuals and dialogue as well as some decent directing from Andrew Nicool. This movie doesn’t compare to Niccol’s masterpieces of the same alternate-reality-conspiracy-type storylines (Gattaca and The Truman Show), but it’s still an easily likeable and watchable film. 6/10.