So, in a dystopian futuristic sci-fi movie, Justin Timberlake (who seems to have quit making music entirely wtf what is the SexyBack of 2011? No One Knows) and Amanda Seyfried (who looks like a combination of Scarlett Johansson and a gerbil that’s being squeezed) are two beautiful specimens from the opposite ends of the spectrum: he, a poor boy from the ‘ghetto’ (they say it, not me) her a spoiled little rich girl from ‘New Greenwich’ (someone in charge of this movie hates Connecticut). In this society, time is the monetary unit, which is displayed on everyone’s forearm in a ticking green counter that looks like if the Matrix and 24 had a conceptual child. When people are born, they live to be 25, then after that their ‘clock starts’ and they have one year after that moment, but any more than that they must earn/steal/buy/barter, etc.
It’s an interesting concept that allows for interesting ideas to emerge and little turns of phrase concerning time that have double meaning in this society. If you ignore the many many questions surrounding this concept, like its actual implementation and how it could possibly work- How do you instantly die when you run out of seconds? How is time stored and transferred? When people give others time, how does your arm know how much to give? How is time stored in little silver blocks? Physically what causes your death when the time is up if your organs are healthy? Likewise, people who are essentially immortal (the very rich) how can their bodies stay healthy for so long? How can all the women run literally miles wearing stilettos? -The movie anticipates all these questions and addresses them right out of the gate. The first line of the movie is a voice-over of Justin Timberlake saying something along the lines of, “We don’t know how or why it got to be like this, it just is” i.e, “don’t ask questions.” I feel like the producers of this movie need to go back and watch Children of Men one more time to get down how to create an implausible reality that is accepted within the world of the characters. Cause damn, they do it right.
But back to ‘In Time.’ I really enjoyed watching this movie, however Seyfried’s character takes about half the movie to gain a discernible personality, and Olivia Wilde’s character (Justin’s mom) is finished off way too soon. Yes, whoops. Spoiler alert. But c’mon if you haven’t seen it by now, you probably don’t mind. Spoiling this movie is like if someone told you Trinity died in the Matrix 2. (Which did in fact happen to me in a 7th grade math class. I was inconsolable. Until I actually saw the Matrix 2 and was like, “wait I don’t care because this movie sucks”) Moving on. Visually the movie was very manicured. It was a little bit like Hollywood’s dream come true in terms of populous; since no one ages past 25, now there is actually a plausible reason for every person milling about in the background to be young and attractive. Also, because people who are poor don’t have much time, they do everything fast i.e run everywhere i.e everyone has great calves.
Amanda Seyfried did look beautiful. You might remember her from:
Mean Girls-the ditzy blonde. ‘Karen’ who needs to feel her boobs to know the weather. When she’s outside.
Mama Mia-the ‘I just want to find my father’ blonde
Dear John- the vivacious yet self-sacrificing blonde with bad timing
Red Riding Hood- the victimized scantily clad blonde
HOWEVER in In Time she breaks away from all this because she is a spoiled yet rebellious and inquisitive…REDHEAD! A redhead with a PIXIE CUT no less. And a lot of black eyeliner. She is a tiny little thing, clocking in (pun intended) at no more than 102 pounds. (She’s actually quite beautiful if you look at her from head on, but that profile is nothing to write home about). This comes in handy with all the escaping she must do.
The disparity in setting and lifestyle in this future world between the rich and poor is what makes this movie compelling. When Justin Timberlake’s character is given a hundred years by a rich man who wants to die, he travels to ‘New Greenwich’ a journey that is interrupted by toll booths that require certain amounts of time for different ‘time zones’ (clever) drawing attention to the segregation by class that is deeply enforced. The journey from the poorest zone to the richest one costs one year- earlier in the film, Timberlake struggled for minutes. He is identified as being formerly poor because he, “does everything a little too fast.” The same way in history fair skin was popular because it was equated with a symbol of status, showing you didn’t have to work for your money; in ‘Time’ a relaxed attitude and slow gate are taken as a sign of the very rich. In contrast, the poor run everywhere.
The film is given momentum and urgency by this deadline, often the poorest souls do not have near enough time for the whole day so they constantly find themselves in life or death situations. Another question to add to the many, is how people manage to get enough time, Olivia Wilde celebrated her 50th birthday at the beginning of the movie, yet she never had more than two hours at a time, however there was no explanation of how she could have earned enough minutes to survive. This is getting complicated, but if you watch it I think you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Overall, I really liked this movie it had a very interesting look to it. The same way that Dark Angel, the best show in the world, combined a sci-fi futuristic world with poverty, In Time manages to create a world that is futuristic in its mindset and doesn’t rely on hovering cars and weird space gadgets to convey the leap in time. (Minority Report I’m looking at you). I would watch this movie with little to no expectations. Like I said, it’s no Children of Men but what I will say is that I recently had a conversation with a friend who just read (in this order )Brave New World, 1984 and The Giver and this movie strongly reminds me of those books. So that’s a compliment. Even though I didn’t like Brave New World. And I’ve never read 1984. But I LOVE The Giver. So take from that what you will.