It’s Time for In Time!

…and cringing at that awful title.

I feel that a negative review is long overdue, and I have a moral to go with this film. This is the film that made me think twice about premises.

While I never thought a good premise generally lead to a good film, I always thought that it would make the film slightly better than it would have been. Then I started seeing the exceptions.

If you think about it, if you looked at the premises of iconic films and television like Mrs DoubtfirePhone Booth and Breaking Bad, you might see how utterly ridiculous they sound in theory. It’s one of the risks of the industry to go with a bad premise and see where it ends up. However, you would think that with good premises (The Purge, Surrogates and Hancock) would fair better. This is what surprised me with In Time.In Time stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in a world where everyone stops aging at the age of twenty-five… with a year to live before they day. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this problem, by taking more from another person. Time in this world is used as a currency and make up the economy. Being displayed on everyone’s arm in green writing, people are divided in society, with the bottom level living day by day (literally) and the aristocrats living for centuries…

Now how cool does that sound?

The premise is good as it displays a lot of themes. The film tries to show how lives are different in each sector of the world (America is literally divided into sectors). In lower-numbered sectors, people have to plan out how much time they spend that day, making sure they don’t run out and, well, die. There is the constant danger of being mugged of all your time, and what little charities try to give, it is not enough. The top sector shows people living cushy lives, gambling and attending parties to while away their decades.

You may be asking how could this go wrong. Trust me, it does.

The plot is about Will (Timberlake) living in Dayton (please say this wasn’t intentional) who meets a man who gives him a century, as he is tired of living eternally. Will moves up the sectors to New Greenwich (oh my days it really is intentional) the top sector and meets a girl named Sylvia (Seyfield). After the police assuming Will has killed the century-man, he is chased away, taking Sylvia as hostage. They end up teaming up to rob time banks to give money back to the poor.

I mean, even the plot sounds okay. I would have preferred something along the lines of why they have all been genetically modified and how they could stop being ruled over by their clocks, but we are just told at the beginning that, to summarise: “It’s just that way so get used to it.” I kind of died a little because of that, but continued on with the film.

I would say that the main problem with this film is the structure. First it’s a tragedy as Will loses his mother as she doesn’t have enough time to take the bus home, then it’s Will integrating himself in high society, seemingly over the death of his mother pretty quickly, then its a hostage situation and then it turns to the Bonnie and Clyde at the end. The parts didn’t gel very well together, and it was like the writers got to points where they didn’t know how to continue and started writing a completely new idea to keep the main protagonist occupied for what felt like an eternity.

This weird structure made the film seem way longer than it should have been. It was as if my body clock was about to time-out while I was watching this. A problem that probably was related to that was the overarching theme of the classes. It just kind of sat there, and the writers had made every conceivable point of “rich control the poor” in the first half-hour. It helped to make the film drag.

I haven’t seen the film in a while, so I’m trying to recall the acting in it. To be honest nothing jumped out at me as being “good”. The relationship between Will and Sylvia was awkward and changed frequently along with the plot (was this written by separate people and all thrown in together?) and the casting… oh the casting…

Due to everyone being stuck at twenty-five, everyone should look twenty-five, but the film tried to make them seem older, but believably twenty-five. It did not work. Sylvia’s mother looked older, with a few lines across her face to show it. It would have been much more shocking to cast everyone who definitely looked twenty-five with no discrepancy.  The century-guy looked older than twenty-five, but that could have been easily stopped by shaving his beard away. It was common sense. Will’s mother, cast as Olivia Wilde, was an exception to this, and she had the maturity to play as his mother.

There really is not much to say other than this film is just dull. It’s as if nothing is happening all the time. Look at the poster above, he has a gun, that means I want to see some action in this film. Even the ending, it seems as if that they are just going to continue what they’ve been doing for the last half-hour of the film. I just wanted something different.

There was no point was their a fast-paced scene. A car crash? Let’s stay unconscious for the next ten minutes before moving on. An arm-wrestling match that takes your time away? Better slow down for a bit. Running to save Sylvia and give her time to live?

Actually, this scene happened twice in the movie. Originality died and the writers tried to cover it up with the limp label of “foreshadowing”. Speaking of limp: the whole film. That was the impression I got. Nothing stood out, nothing got me excited. The scenes looked like I should have felt something as an innocent bystander gets mugged or excitement as someone timed-out (died), but I felt absolutely nothing. Maybe it was the one-dimensional characters, maybe the long scenes numbed my brain of any excitement, but this was a good premise gone to waste in the end.

Thanks all for reading. There might be a hiatus next week due to a holiday, but I might try and find someone to put up an older draft. Thank you all!