IN TIME - A Waste of Time
IN TIME (sci-fi drama)
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettfyer, Olivia Wilde and Vincent Kartheiser
Director: Andrew Niccol
Screenplay by Andrew Niccol
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: When film distributors slap an embargo on the reviews of critics, it usually means that the movie in question stinks so much that they don't want bad reviews to spoil the movie's opening. This one was embargoed until yesterday - and you guessed it, it's a waste of time. The premise, about time as currency, is flimsy at best - and it provokes more questions than answers.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT: It's the future and it's a world where time is literally being used as money. Aging somehow stops at 25, and the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives from hand to mouth in a slum-like sector of the city, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy and powerful.
There, he meets beautiful young heiress Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) and they team up to become a futuristic Bonnie & Clyde, despite being relentlessly pursued by a 'Timekeeper' cop (Cillian Murphy).
HITS & MISSES: The sci-fi world where people stop aging at 25 - is novel and attractive, until you start thinking about the mechanics of it. One of the most disturbing is the LED timer embedded in the left hand of everyone. Is this timer embedded at birth? If so, it is curious how it stays on when the child grows up. What if the timer is discarded before the age of 25? Will the person die at once?
People transfer time by clasping each other's hands and even in arm-wrestling. How does the exchange really work, especially in cases of robbery? These questions mar our acceptance of the movie's premise - and makes the whole idea trashy. And even if we can overlook this set-up, the main plot of Will and Sylvia robbing banks of their time and giving it away sounds so implausible that we feel cheated. Will has spent his whole life fighting for time and he has even lost his mother (played by Olivia Wilde as Rachel, pictured) because of just a few seconds. To see him squandering it in that Robin Hood manner is just bad writing and poor motivation.
Timberlake and Seyfried are acceptable in their questionable Bonnie & Clyde roles (where a titillating underwater scene is cut for Malaysian audiences). Basically, they just need to look macho and pretty respectively, and they succeed. Murphy (right), as expected, shines in his portrayal of a 'time sheriff' where he is part villain and part hero!
THE LOWDOWN: This is one movie where you look at your watch and realise how much time you have wasted.