159 of 206 people found the following review helpful
Such A Good Concept... So Poorly Done,
This review is from: In Time (Amazon Video)
I'm a sucker for a good sci- fi / action movie. I'm rather forgiving in just how much I will overlook in the name of quality entertainment.
First, the Good: Some of the acting (Cillian Murphy, Justin Timberlake and a few others) are respectably solid. Also, the overall concept is very intriguing... the world currency is time, and when a person turns 25 their "life clock" actually begins. From the time you are 25, life's objective is to keep your life clock from expiring. If it expires, you die. Not a problem for the rich, who have more time than they know what to do with: a "wealthy" person may have centuries to live, while the "poor" continuously struggle for more time. It's a very interesting premise that becomes more interesting when a poor worker (Justin Timberlake) saves a "wealthy" man from a time stealing mob boss while flaunting his wealth in the ghetto. in return, he gives Justine Timberlake all of his time (over 100 years). In a short but very philosophical discussion the wealthy man, who has mentally lived too long, says "We are meant to die."
So begins a science fiction tale that promises to serve up plenty of symbolism, philosophical overtones about economy and the meaning of existence. Could it possibly be the rare sci fi / action film panned by critics but destined to become a cult classic somewhere down the road?
Unfortunately, that's about as good as the film gets.
Actually, the movie starts to go down hill and remains spiraling out of control with the entrance of Amanda Seyfried. Sadly, the story abandons all of its earlier adult-oriented promise to become a vapid "love story" seemingly aimed at a much younger audience. I was not impressed with Seyfried in "Red Riding Hood" and even less impressed with her here. This suprises me, because normally I think she's a good actress. In this movie, she serves well as eye candy, but her acting in this movie was cardboard flat awful. However, in her defense, the characters aren't scripted very well and she really wasn't given much to work with.
For example: she plays a wealthy girl who is kidnapped by Justin Timberlake and taken to the ghetto. They are both rendered unconscious and robbed of nearly all their time. Now they have to stay on the move and struggle to stay alive without running out of time. Excellent premise! However, never once does she seem very concerned that she is mere minutes from certain death. She acts incredibly hum-drum for a rich girl who always had an over-abundance of time and now, for the first time in her life (presumably) literally has almost none. The sense of non-urgency really detracted from what could have - and SHOULD have been an incredibly suspenseful segment of the film. Just another example of weak script, weak acting and weak directing all coming together.
The third act gets even worse when the two lovers turn into Robin Hood-esque characters, stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor. The movie becomes so trite that anything once redeeming is no longer a part of the equation. Not that I have a problem with the class warfare message behind the film: I agree with a lot of it. I just felt the execution of that message fell flat.
Also, the 'ghetto' was way too tame: in a world where time can be exchanged simply by grabbing someones arm, think how chaotic, dismal and brutal the ghetto would really be with people killing eachother just to survive a few more minutes. The movie becomes its own worst enemy by completely santizing what it's attempting to condemn in the first place. I understand they didn't want to cross over into R- rated territory, but the ghetto should have been much more chaotic and gritty- even at PG-13.
All in all, this movie is so incredibly disappointing because it started with so much promise and then took all that promise and wasted it. Some the actors were solid- I've always been impressed with Cillian Murphy and I must admit that Timberlake easily holds his own as well (except for the god-awful scene when his "mother" is killed, which was cringe-worthy bad).
With a tighter script and direction, more concentration on story and suspense as opposed to a vapid love story between the stereotypically over-indulged rich girl and the poor boy from the opposite side of the tracks- this could have been so much better than it actually was.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 16, 2012 4:54:02 PM PST
The idea sounds like an up-dated version of Logan's Run.
Posted on Feb 19, 2012 9:00:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2012 9:00:23 PM PST
A. King says:
Couldn't agree more about the disappointing portrayal of the Ghetto. I barely suppressed a chuckle when our Robin's Hood showed up with their immeasurable windfall, to distribute to the masses... and all the urchins and beggars line up to receive their fair share with patience and civility. None of the thieves or factory roughnecks - the ones who will "kill you for a week" - make a grab for the capsule, or try to hold out for another couple months.
In a better film, that would have been a moment for chaos to break out and our heroes to learn a lesson about the delicate balance any economy relies on. But this was not that movie.
Which is unfortunate.
Posted on Feb 26, 2012 7:12:52 AM PST
Actually, I quite disagree with you about the ghetto for the simple reason that we already see much of this desperation enacted in real life today. Thought there is violence, people have adapted to it. Think of the slaves building the pyramids for thousands of years in ancient Egypt (and all the spurious retrospective rationalizations about what kept this going). The human capacity to accept and even argue in favor of its own inhumane condition is nothing short of remarkable.
I will add that I found this movie a remarkable parable about the evils of capitalism, as its extremism unveils many of the problems which are swept under the rug. As the movie makes obvious, replace time with money in the story, and it spotlights the tacit agenda of our current oligarchical system, everything from the enlistment of a multilayered managerial class (Timekeepers and gangsters), to an intense systemic opposition to change. The one thing I disagreed with: if the character had successfully achieved the procurement of so much time, it is likely that he would be admitted to elite society, and the Timekeeper slapped down for his impudence. What is one more guy crawling out of the pit? To admit him would be a safety valve.
I respect your opinion, though.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 7:26:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 27, 2012 7:30:48 AM PST
Mister Markster says:
DHan: I whole-heartedly agree with you that the movie was a remarkable parable about the potential and inherant evils of capitalism. I thought there were a lot of deep themes running through the movie. That's why I was so disappointed in the overall movie: To me it should have stuck to the themes as opposed to abandoning then and turning into a vapid love story. I guess they just wanted to draw in as wide an audience as possible. You make a solid argument for the film's merits.
Posted on Mar 6, 2012 5:29:45 AM PST
Posted on Mar 12, 2012 9:35:14 AM PDT
Good review. You failed to note though, the gal (way too skinny, by the way) running over the roof tops in 4" heels and also never getting a run in her nylons. Now that is SciFi at its very best!
Posted on May 4, 2012 3:33:20 AM PDT
Hapa Human says:
Posted on Jul 5, 2012 7:19:00 PM PDT
A. Barnes says:
I disagree. I thought this was totally thought provoking and captivating as a movie.
Disrupting the delicate economy... that would have been interesting and I would have liked to see that concept explored for another hour or so.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 9:26:08 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 20, 2012 4:04:15 AM PDT]
Posted on Jul 19, 2012 6:11:06 PM PDT
L. Wong says:
The movie was quite good as was your review until you became personal with Seyfried. At which point, your objectivity went by the wayside.