Andrew Niccol‘s latest futuristic sci-fi film In Time is nothing more than an interesting idea presented, but never fully expanded on. Justin Timberlake carelessly walks through the film as the leading man, but it’s Cillian Murphy that adds some flavor as the eager bad guy. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they tossed Amanda Seyfried into the mix, but her character is one of the key elements to In Time‘s destruction as an entertaining sci-fi film. It almost reaches the level of something worth watching, but every time that happens the film throws in another pointless character or stupid plot detail that acts as an excuse to cover up more logic.
Sometime in the near future human beings are programmed to stop aging at 25. You’re given a year on your clock at age 25 and you either work for more time or you die. It’s a simple way to control the population and keep the rich richer and the poor poorer. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is one of those poor people, who runs into a man with over a century on his clock.
The man gives Will his time and tells him not to waste it. From that point Will realizes that he needs to figure out a way to use this time to help better the people and figure out the whole conspiracy behind it all. As he travels to the wealthier time zones to learn more he is being followed by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy); a time keeper who is in charge of balancing out the time and making sure each zone has its proper due.
Will takes on a hostage, Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) and together they tear down the system, dispersing the time where they see fit.
In Time plays heavily with the current economic crisis that is crippling most parts of the world. Its message is strong, fighting for equal opportunity at wealth and all that deep political corruptness going on in the world, but as a film it feels incredibly underdeveloped and lacking of any real thought. The concept is cool, time as a form of currency, but its execution is piss-poor. Attention to detail is everything in a high concept film like In Time and director Andrew Niccol doesn’t even try to fill in some of the bigger logic holes.
If you can still somehow ignore all of the basic logic that is being thrown out the window then you’ll still find problems with the general direction of the story and the lack of any real motives behind the characters. Will Salas is the type of guy that likes to help people anyway possible, but why? His relationship with his father is vaguely touched up on and his general drive for the entire film is based on a laughably bad scene between him and his mother.
There’s hardly any action in the film too. It’s not an edge-of-your-seat type of film or a heavy sci-fi film that gets into the thick technical part of it all; it’s really just another tired on-the-run film. Justin Timberlake shows a small amount of charisma as the leading man, but In Time shows that he can’t carry an action film. Same goes for Amanda Seyfried, who feels horribly miscast and out of place throughout the whole film. Her character is crying and complaining one minute and sympathetic and rebellious the next. She’s completely random.
The only real saving grace of the entire film is Cillian Murphy. He finally gets a role that he can really make into his own. He plays the time keeper Raymond Leon, with a mysterious past and rightful sense of handling things. He can’t be bought or negotiated with, he simply does his job. He’s supposed to be the bad guy, but coming from his perspective he’s actually as good as Will Salas. He’s simply maintaining order in a corrupt world.
In Time is a poor entry in Andrew Niccol‘s sci-fi resume. It’s nowhere near as good as Gattaca. If the concept was further expanded upon then maybe it could have worked, but the script seemed more worried with making everyone look pretty at 25 then explaining how people can’t die of things like smoking or cholesterol build up. It establishes some small rules and it expects you to look the other way when every one of those rules is broken. It’s lazy writing with little thought somehow getting a big studio budget. Not even the great Cillian Murphy could make the film anything more than a questionable rental.
At least legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins‘ first foray into the digital world shines on Blu-Ray. The digitally shot movie looks impeccable. Detail is high and colors are consistently strong. Each and every shot looks gorgeous, which really helps the film from becoming a complete waste. Blacks are dark and there’s absolutely no noise present.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is just a tick below the video quality. It’s loud and mixed efficiently, with the surrounding environments coming across all channels. Dialogue is in the front and the action is all over the back and front, making In Time a treat to both see and hear.
The disc comes with a few deleted scenes and a faux documentary that expands more on the whole immortality concept. It would have been better if this stuff was properly infused within the actual film. Here’s a full list below.
- The Minutes (HD)
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD)
- Sneak Peak Trailers (HD)
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
I’d rather watch Michael Bay‘s sci-fi epic The Island over Andrew Niccol‘s In Time. At least Bay covers up his lack for storytelling with explosive action and beautiful/expensive set pieces. In Time doesn’t really have a story or much action. It’s just another poorly thought up sci-fi film that doesn’t establish itself enough before bringing the viewer in to watch. The groundwork needs to be laid down beforehand so the viewer can get a sense of the world created and the people that populate it. Without the vital information and details given the film will feel phony.
In Time looks amazing on Blu-Ray and it sounds pretty damn good too, but the special features only expand slightly on the undeveloped story. The disc is topped off with a DVD and Digital Copy, so at least it feels somewhat complete. I’m not sure if I can even recommend the film as a rental because it drops the ball and drags its feet almost the whole time. Cillian Murphy really is the only reason the film is watchable, but even he can’t fully save it.
In Time is a poor entry in Andrew Niccol‘s sci-fi resume, with a holey plot and uninteresting characters.