Thursday, 3 November 2011

In Time, dir/wr Andrew Niccol, st. Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Vincent Kartheiser, Cillian Murphy

There's an exciting pertinence to Andrew Niccol's film that's palpably 'of the moment'. With 'Occupy Wall Street' and protests on the steps of St. Pauls' taking place as we speak, here's a film that's essentially all about the redistribution of wealth. Except this is Andrew Niccol, the man who brought us Gattaca, one of the most relevant and intelligent science fiction films of (semi) recent years, and so In Time deals not with dollars, but with time as its currency; in his dystopia, everyone lives until the age of 25 at which time a 365 day clock, a kind of bio-mechanic Tron-green Casio illuminator display somehow 'implanted' under the skin, starts to count down. Time is bought and sold for goods and services. Sadly, such an exciting premise descends into a rather limp and formulaic chase movie with neither the rich literacy nor the smart production design of Gattaca. The cast are engaging in that earnest kind of way, and there's a surprisingly moving scene borne from the most hackneyed of clichés involving Timberlake and his Mother, played by Olivia Wilde (everyone's 25, remember?) which promises character drive and purpose, but woefully delivers neither. One wonders whether artistic integrity was compromised in the face of the Hollywood machine, as regrettably, a thoughtful musing on the nature of the human value of Time has been dressed up as a silly action movie.