Catch-up: In Time

Because I got one of my rare full weekend last time, I had the chance to catch up on my reading and movie watching. And really, I was surprised by just how much I had already been missing. Plus the fact that I had been going through The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest for about three months now. Sucks.

Anyway, one movie that I was able to see was In Time (on DVD already, of course).

In Time, 2011

I wanted to watch this film when it came out last year because of its trailer. It has probably one of the most intriguing stories in the realm of sci-fi thrillers and the fact that its lead stars are not really known for such a type of film did play a major role in getting everybody excited.

Plot

In Time is set in the year 2161 where genetic engineering is in its glorious era and is able to make people stop aging after their 25th birthday. But there is one major glitch. When a person reaches 25, a glow-in-the-dark digital clock in his or her left arm is activated. For most people, they get an initial 24 hours. And this they have to increase or else they die–because when one’s clock reads zero, it means life is over and he or she dies instantly.

The cliche “time is of the essence” is literally taken in this movie. Time has even replaced money’s value in that a person earns additional seconds or hours by working and loses minutes whenever they purchase something. Heck, even a bus ride can cost an hour while a beer can cost eight hours.

Will Salas and his mother Rachel are some of those people who live day by day, earning and losing their time in a vicious cycle of economics and never being assured that they can still see the sun rise the following day. When he received 100 years from a time-rich Henry Hamilton, the man he saved from a time-robbery assault but who committed suicide just the same, Will is ready to live a better life.

But his mother dies, even before he gets to share his century with her, when a disbelieving rise in the price of a bus ride cost her the last hour she has. Barely out of his grief, Will is accused of murdering Henry. Out of all the negatives he has been receiving from the rotten system that is his society, Will sets out to seek revenge in the Time Zones where the other time-rich people live.

There he meets Sylvia Weis the lovely daughter of business tycoon Philippe Weis and instantly gets mushy with her. But his own time is shortened when the Timekeepers (the story’s version of the police), headed by Raymond Leon, nabs Will. He escapes though, taking Sylvia along as a hostage.

What follows is a constant mix of chase and heist scenes as Will and Sylvia, who eventually becomes his accomplice, gets in a series of crimes as they try to undermine Sylvia’s dad’s empire to give more time to the poor all the while escaping the authority that seeks to bind them in.

Concept

I must say that I did love the film’s concept albeit its bordering into becoming a fantasy movie where people cease to age. It’s quite as refreshing and as interesting as Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The futuristic sense of the movie was hard to dislike, especially as everybody loved to at least be presented a possibility where their futures were concerned.

The rendering of the “time” concept was just as cool. You could imagine living like that and probably you would shudder at the very thought. Yet, the film could make you have that feeble feeling of wanting to try being stamped with a clock that could very much predict the time of your death.

"Time"

Execution

For me, the film’s settings were a bit lax. Setting up a story in a place that could only be a century from now was challenging since it involved a great deal of imagination. So I wasn’t sure if it was just me or the film’s crew did settle for a mere compromise between how a present avenue looked like before and how it could progress to a different phase in the future. Aside from that, it felt more like watching a ghetto film because of the abundance of metal sheets and box houses.

But there were some parts and props that were really commendable. I especially liked two things:

The car Justin Timberlake bought . . .

No, I’m not a car enthusiast but I do know how to appreciate four wheels when they come as breathtaking as that convertible Will Salas purchased with the Millennium he won at a card game against Philippe Weis. In fact, all of the cars used including the ones that belonged to the Timekeepers were superbly modern and sturdy and cool.

. . . and the vaults Amanda and Justin robbed time from.

I wasn’t sure why but I did like the construction of the vaults and all the other tech items that were used in the film. They, contrary to the setting they were placed in, spelled the modernity that the movie was all about.

But the biggest point I’d like to make about how the film was executed is that it was dangerously dragging. The pacing was utterly slow considering the magnitude of the concept that the film was embodying. There were too much chase scenes and less of the planning that a good heist movie needed. I  felt like the movie could have done with better angles.

The presence of so many adversaries was also not that engaging. It was already difficult to think about how the protagonists could go on running from the authorities. And to add some more sets of villains, it was plainly a circus of shoot-the-man.

Characters

Justin Timberlake, Will Salas

Will Salas

They said Justin is not yet ripe for the silver screen. I said he can be when I saw Friends with Benefits. But as it turned out, he can be good in rom-coms and chick flicks because he had the charms and the looks. However, for such demanding roles like his Will Salas, Justin had a great chance of falling short. True, he had the body and the revengeful eyes. But he had little sense of drama. He could cry and mope and be mad and yet everything just doesn’t feel right.

Amanda Seyfried, Sylvia Weis

Sylvia Weis

Well, her big eyes did it again. She was great in all the scenes where she had to be surprised and scared and deep in thought. The new look also felt refreshing and did a nice job prying Amanda away from her chick-flick aura. But here’s the thing: she could look mean and run hot with a gun yet she still had that husky voice that seemed more for a romantic film than this one.

Cillian Murphy, Raymond Leon

Raymond Leon

Was he not somehow too small and fragile looking for a Head Timekeeper position? Well, he was. But even so, Cillian Murphy’s portrayal was redeeming. He gave substance to all the running around that Justin and Amanda’s characters were doing. He provided well the conflict that his co-actors needed. Best of all, he was able to wind up a subplot that really was a breath of fresh air in this fast film.

Alex Pettyfer, Fortis

Fortis

I kind of got tired of Alex Pettyfer’s role in here by the time the film reached its middle part. I mean, it was bad enough that the imbalance of their society was highlighted. Maybe they did not need thugs like Fortis to make things worse anymore. I did like seeing Alex onscreen though. But still, him and his “bad guy” roles (Beastly?) should start fading away by now.

Olivia Wilde, Rachel Salas

Rachel Salas

Shock. Well that’s what you would feel like upon seeing Olivia Wilde . . . as Justin Timberlake’s mother! I remembered this very fact becoming a subject in most Web articles at the time the film was being promoted. Seriously, someone Olivia’s age as a mother to Justin? But in the movie, it was totally forgotten as people focused on her short-lived yet definitely meaningful character. She was a symbolism of all the things that perished in time. And her death was more than sad–it was breaking.

Vincent Kartheiser, Philippe Weis

Philippe Weis

The man was a dead ringer of the teen Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, was he not? That was what I was thinking of the whole time I was watching him. But when you finally decided he was not Frank Dillane, you could go over his performance more astutely. I could not shake the same feeling I had over Olivia Wilde’s mom role especially when I saw Kartheiser as Amanda’s “rich old man”. Overall though, he was an interesting character to watch because he had layers that most people would not even realize.

Matt Bomer, Henry Hamilton

Henry Hamilton

Man, did he look good or did he look better? Okay, that should not be the point. Hmmm. I wished there were more of Henry Hamilton’s character than that overnight talk with Will Salas. And this had nothing to do with me liking Matt Bomer’s face illuminated by streetlamps at night, ‘kay? It’s just that I thought I could have appreciated well the idea that there was indeed a nagging negative feeling with having an entire century to live. With the fact that you could in fact  live a thousand years if you were wealthy enough. It was one of the parts of the films that made sense. And I wished they expounded on that.

Over all, In Time could have used a more defined plot with concrete scenes that had its lead stars thinking as much as they wanted their audience to do so. It was not a  bad movie but it could have been better. They had so much of story going for them to be encumbered with chase scenes and shootings.

 

Photos from Rotten Tomatoes and all over Google