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In Time
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by Adrian Starland

"Time that could be better spent"
3 stars

The concept of using "time" in the literal sense as the universally accepted medium of exchange is a somewhat intriguing theme for a "movie," presenting the idea as a somewhat dark analogy of our modern day "Rat Race" society. And while the premise is an interesting one which offers plenty of room for speculation as to how such a system might actually operate, the execution of those ideas in 20th Century Fox's "IN TIME" tends to leave us with more questions than answers.

From the opening moments of the film you get a sense that it will have a set-up somewhat reminiscent of "Logan's Run" had it taken place in the great open spaces (much like the setting for the original novel), but we soon learn that we are in for a highly contrived story of people with stopwatches (never really explained) integrated into their bodies to remind them that they've only got until the countdown clicks its final second of each person's 26-year lifespan before they've got to cash in their chips and collect their eternal reward! Specifically, their 26-year-long life span has a "two-minute warning" at exactly age 25, which figuratively, though seemingly literally, kicks them in the gut to remind them (1) to celebrate the fact that their bodies are no longer susceptible "aging," and (2) to do & accumulate all they can while they can to keep earning "extensions" on the life of that un-aging body lest they (literally) run out of time and obligatorily go into that long farewell.

But as in all societies, the "rich" keep getting richer (and less concerned about others worse off than themselves, and more paranoid about others worse off than themselves), and those whose back-breaking labor keeps them in the lap of luxury often have to find themselves taking desperate measures just to survive in "uncertain times," as it were.

One of the problems with the story's premise is the idea that it is way too easy for private individuals to transfer "time" to another private individual. Perhaps this concept was incorporated into the story to give it an added sense of "dread," i.e. to make it a society where "no one is safe" from time thieves. It was also perhaps a way to establish and highlight the concept of the checkpoints established in the various cities known as "Time Zones," where each gate grants you access to better living & working conditions, right on up to the top of the food chain where the rich elites enjoy comfy privileged lives far removed from the dregs of society (here we get hints of flavor of George Romero's "Land of the Dead").

But even among those who "have it all," so to speak (regardless of the "hows" involved in their getting it), there is a sense that perhaps life wasn't meant to be go on eternally. (Personally, I'd say: "Anyone who would want to divest themselves of their remaining years on Earth, please send them my way, because there's a whole helluvalot I could do to keep myself occupied for 'forever' years.") And this is the situation our main protagonist gets faced with when he rescues a man worth over a century from group of time thieving thugs, who then becomes the unwitting recipient of the once willfully-intended crime victim now turned suicide victim's extended years, thus setting the stage for the newly minted centenarian to infiltrate the realm of wealth & power in an attempt to destroy the Chrono-Capitalist System from within... or at least shake it up a little bit.

This is where the would-be Hero without a Clue launches a panicked spontaneous plan to kidnap the daughter of the man who literally controls the time market after he's been tracked down by time cops who want to hold him as a "murder suspect" in the suicide victim's death. From there, the kidnap victim takes on Patty Hearst tendencies with her absconder and decides to join him in his crusade... especially when she learns just how much (i.e. how "little") her own father truly "values" her. Together, they form something of a Bonnie & Clyde revival by raiding time banks, but with a Robin Hood-esque twist: robbing from the "rich" to give to the "poor" -- a noble but futile gesture, as there seems to be no sort of system in place (such as in "Surrogates") which can effectively shut down the bio-clocks and cancel the countdown, so that Bonnie & Clyde will essentially have to keep working until their own time runs out at the hands of the Law, which is losing its influence on the masses as the public increasingly views the time bandits as "The People's Heroes," in a manner of speaking.

Though intriguing in concept (that cannot be said enough), it is still lacking in a number of areas; chief among which is that there is no real feeling of "suspense" to be felt here -- everything feels so contrived that you may find yourself not really rooting for the heroes, but instead feeling as though you are little more than just someone who is going along for the ride as a dispassionate observer.

One of the things which may have helped this movie immensely is if they had taken it out of the "dystopian techno-future" realm and had gone completely "Science-Fictiony" with the story and had set it off in some far remote edge of the galaxy somewhere, so that at least there would've been the added element of a sense of wonder attached to it: but it seems obvious that they chose to keep the action "close to home" due to the successes of similar techo-future suspense films like "Inception" and "Minority Report."

Perhaps the most truly interesting aspect of this film was how it showed how unsettling and how confusing it could perhaps be to encounter people who all possess strong youthful characteristics, but never knowing without any sort of extravisual cues (such as crows feet, graying hair, etc.) or personal admissions whether someone was much older or much younger, or if that cute couple going out on the town was husband/wife, brother/sister, mother/son, or father/daughter. In a world where all we've ever known is aging and death, there's something about that whole concept which causes a sense of uneasiness once it is actually seen being portrayed.

Giving this movie a fairly deserved rating is kind of difficult to do, because there are so many variables influencing the perception of this film that opinion fluctuates up & down and causes any rating to ultimately be somewhat inaccurate without a clarifying explanation. Overall, it's definitely a movie that's worth having a look-see at least once... but also "ideally" once, as it really doesn't seem to possess that certain quality that would normally make a movie of this type & scope truly memorable, despite having had a number of somewhat original ideas to work with and build upon. Enjoy it for what it is, then go home and watch "Inception" on your family DVD player.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21720&reviewer=427
originally posted: 11/03/11 08:11:42
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell boring spend time watching something else 1 stars
5/24/12 mr.mike While it moves along , it looks cheap and has bad acting. 3 stars
3/29/12 DK Great concept, solid first half, second portion compromised by lazy screenwriting. 3 stars
3/12/12 Where will my next favorite actress come from? Continues downward spiral from RedRidingHood. Now I hear she'll play Linda Lovelace. YUCK!! 2 stars
12/08/11 The Velcro Warlock Tedious dreary premise with nowhere to go. Still, fabulous Amanda Seyfried lightened it up. 2 stars
11/06/11 KingNeutron The female leads were striking, but too many plot holes and bad graphic effects 3 stars
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  28-Oct-2011 (PG-13)
  DVD: 31-Jan-2012


  DVD: 31-Jan-2012

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