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In Time: Occupy Clock Street

by Rachel Stein October 28, 2011 6:00 am
<i>In Time</i>: Occupy Clock Street

Time actually equals money in Andrew Niccol's (Gattaca, The Truman Show) latest adventure, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. That analogy is about as heavy-handed as you can possibly imagine and even if you can get past the social commentary, you'll still have to sit through nearly two hours' worth of enormous plot holes, uninteresting mysterious backstories and what is essentially a shoddy mash-up of Logan's Run and Bonnie and Clyde.

In Time features Will Salas (Timberlake) and Sylvia Weis (Sayfried) running around a future world, stealing from the rich -- namely Weis' greedy father, Philippe Weis (Vincent "Pete Campbell" Kartheiser) -- and giving to the poor, like some kind of sexy Robin Hood duo. This is a reality where people stop aging at 25, which is great if you're a fox like Will, but not so much if you look anything like his alcoholic best friend, Borel (Johnny Galecki). Anyways, once you hit 25, you're engineered to live only one more year, but there are means available to literally "buy time" and essentially have immortal youth. One can work real hard and live a meager day-to-day life in the ghetto, or, more preferably (and, definitely, more politically) you can be born rich and just control the system for the rest of your life.

Will barely has a minute to his name (ha!), but when a super-old dude (Matthew Bomer) with an enormous amount of time on his clock gives our protagonist his fortune, Will finds himself accused of his murder (for some reason? There are cameras everywhere and I'm still not sure why this was even an issue) and goes on the run from the "Timekeepers," an FBI-like force led by a man named Leon (Cillian Murphy), taking Sylvia as a hostage. There's also a gang who call themselves the "Minutemen" (run by Alex Pettyfer in what is only the second worst role he's ever played), which begs the question: Why stop there? Why not have puppies run around the streets to keep people happy and call them Watchdogs? Or rename payphones Sundials? Call the Timekeeper HQ the "Watchtower"? Get Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson and Carla Gugino in there for some Watchmen cameos?

I actually really enjoyed all of the dumb "Four minutes for a cup of coffee?!" and "Meet my wife, my daughter and my mother-in-law" type of scenes where Niccol has fun with In Time's universe. (He also made banks extremely easy to rob in the future.) But by the end of the film, the message is so obnoxiously overdone and -- considering it's debuting on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- it just feels exploitative. (Not to mention, to agree with the movie is to agree with an enormous multimillion Hollywood production, but I am not about to get political here.) It's also hard to be impressed when a character like Philippe boasts that he's an old man, because he's literally just spouting out a number. We can't exactly look at his lack of wrinkles in awe or tell his actual age by floppy neck skin or anything. It just feels like lazy storytelling.

I blame no particular actor for the downfall of In Time. I'm not a Timberlake fan, which may be why I got the creeps watching his scenes with his "50"-year-old mother (Olivia Wilde). (Two people that good-looking touching each other's faces is just always going to reek of sexual tension.) However, if there's one positive thing to take away from this movie, it's that Kartheiser should play every understated evil villain from here on out... and Alison Brie should always play his wife. Just 'cause.

Take a look at Justin Timberlake's career by the numbers.

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