Review: In Time
In Time is the story of Will Salas who lives in a world where everyone stops aging at 25, and on their right arm a clock begins to tick down. Time is currency, where a cup of coffee costs a person four hours of their lives. The only way to live past 26 is to buy more Time. Literally. Will lives in the ghetto, working at a factory to earn Time, which he shares with his mother who often does cleaning to earn Time also. But living is expensive and Will wakes up every day with only 24 hours to live.
Metaphors are literal in this political sci/fi drama. And while I was expecting the story to revolve around politics and a revolution, the in-your-face, completely unsubtle political agenda over-took the story line. A little finesse and this could have been a really awesome movie (like Limitless for example). Instead, in spite of the excellent acting by many of Hollywood’s A and B list actors, the special effects, and cinematography, the movie never made it beyond pretty good.
Maybe if the director and writer hadn’t taken themselves so seriously, it could have been campy enough to be delightful, but the humor was lacking for such fun usually associated with sci/fi political dramas. The movie never reached its boiling point and it never really exploded with campyness, so it stayed luke warm and pretty good.
Justin Timberlake was a decent actor, but if they had honestly wanted this to be a really good political sci/fi drama to be taken seriously, they should have gotten someone with a little more acting weight. I don’t think of Justin Timberlake as a leading male alpha able to carry an entire movie, and while I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, there were at least two points of the movie where I felt as though he was acting rather than being the part. Only a couple to be sure, but not something you expect from a leading actor shouldering an entire movie.
If not for Amanda Seyfried, playing Sylvia Weis, this movie wouldn’t have even been pretty good. She was excellent, and as she happened to be in almost every scene with Justin, the movie moved along with enough real emotion to carry through until the end. Will takes Sylvia hostage to get out of a sticky situation with the Time Keepers (think Peace Keeper) and she gets thrown into a world which her pretty little rich girl mind has a hard time coping. I also enjoyed Olivia Wilde’s bit part as Will’s mother. Maybe it is because I have a girl crush on her, but her though her scenes were few I connected with her character. She was one of the few characters where time running out could be read across every inch of her face.
A lot of people turned up in this movie that I wasn’t expecting. While I knew Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) was playing the Time Keeper who hunts Will down when he thinks that Will has stolen a century of time. I didn’t know that Matt Bomber (Chuck, White Collar) would make an appearance as the century old benefactor to Will. Oh why couldn’t Matt Bomer played Will Salas? I have a hard time with Justin’s pretty boy face. Is Matt Bomer pretty, sure, but he’s a pretty man. OK, so I have a crush on him. Sheesh. Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), who I adore, is a bit character as Will’s best friend, a man who drinks away his Time to numb the pain of his existence. Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men, Angel) , is the face of corporate greed, he plays Sylvia’s father, a man excited by the challenge Will throws in his face because he knows his Time can buy anything.
I enjoyed watching this movie over the weekend while doing my taxes (ugh!). It was fast paced, had beautiful people populating the screen, and an interesting concept. It felt short of clever or campy, but landed a solid decent movie rating. The political agenda wasn’t subtle enough to invoke thought, but it added an interesting sidebar to the sci/fi story line. And honestly I would see any movie where Olivia Wilde plays Justin Timberlake’s mother. Just saying.