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In Time (2011)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/31/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/5/2012
There are a lot of bad movies out there. Some weeks I feel as if all that I watch are bad movies. I know that there are people who enjoy bad movies, but I don't. I want every movie to be good and I often expect movies to be good, especially when the names both in front of and behind the camera are familiar. It doesn't seem far-fetched to assume that professionals who have been involved with good movies in the past and have talent would make a good movie. However, this isn't always the case. In Time proves this, as it shows a lot of promise, but certainly doesn't deliver.
In Time is set in an indeterminate future where humans age naturally until they turn 25. At that point, they must earn extra life as time has become currency. When people buy something, they use part of the life which they have left. Time can be passed between people and banks loan time. The poor live life one day at a time, as that's all that they can afford, while the rich can presumably live forever. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives in a slum called Dayton with his mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde). He earns little time at his factory job and Rachel is often getting high interest time loans. One night, Will meets Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), a very "rich" man who has over a century, but is tired of living, so he gives his time to Will. Now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Will decides to seek revenge on a system which tortures those like his mother. He makes his way to New Greenwich, where he mingles with the rich and powerful. There he meets Sylvia Weiss (Amanda Seyfried), a beautiful heiress who has lead a sheltered life. When the authorities, in the form of The Timekeepers, headed by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), arrive to question Will about his newly acquired time, he takes Sylvia hostage and flees. Together, they will wreak havoc on a world where everyone should have enough time.
In Time comes from Andrew Niccol, who wrote, produced, and directed the film. This is the man who was responsible for writingThe Truman Show and writing and directing Gattaca. So, he’s been around and he’s made some good movies. This begs the question, why is In Time such an incoherent mess?
The first act of the film isn’t bad and the basic concept of the story, that people must exchange bits of their lifespan for goods and services, is an interesting. But, it’s not explained very well. Both genetics and evolution are mentioned. Which is it? I find it difficult to believe that humans would evolve to a point where we would develop digital clocks in our arms. We meet Will and his mom and get a basic idea of how this world works, but after that, things begin to go downhill. The Henry Hamilton character is very vague and the fact that he gives Will all of his time simply because he’s tired of living isn’t given enough time. Will is accosted by a group of “Minutemen” who are apparently like the mafia in Dayton, but they are left merely as stereotypes. Will’s journey to New Greenwich is mysterious (how did that car know to come get him) and we learn nothing about the area between Dayton and the city of the rich.
Will’s time in New Greenwich is probably the most stable part of the film, as he’s the rich stranger who is invited into the world of high society by Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). Since Will has so much time, he’s immediately accepted by the upper class. However, he’s soon exposed by the Timekeepers and he’s on the run with Sylvia in tow. This is where the movie really begins to fall apart, both in story and editing. Despite the fact that we watched Will travel for what seemed like hours between Dayton and New Greenwich, in the second half of the film, they are suddenly right next to one another. The movie gives us lapses in logic in which characters give away all of their time without leaving enough for themselves. This is supposed to create suspense, but it simply makes us question the intelligence of that character. These issues are further confounded by issues in editing. Things just suddenly happen, such as the bank robbery. There are also questionable moments such as when Sylvia leaps from a second-story window wearing six-inch heels and is no worse for the wear. My wife liked the scene where Sylvia is clad only in bra and panties and must quickly flee and in the next shot, she’s taken the time to put on her tights and pumps. The most confounding moment comes in the next to the last scene where Will and Sylvia are running to...somewhere...as their time runs out. What they are doing in this scene is never made clear and a quick search of the web shows that I’m not alone in being befuddled by this. And don’t get me started on the “fight” people in this time use to combat one another for time. This non-sensical game is meant to be one of the high-points of the third act, but it seems to me that unless you have attention deficit disorder, this “fight” shouldn’t be much of a challenge.
I had high hopes for In Time, as I’ve admired some of Niccol’s work in the past and the premise is intriguing. I was shocked to see what an amateurish disaster the film is. Again, the issues all stem from errors in logic and editing and they are difficult to overlook. The movie has a fairly nice look in both the cars and the costumes (although I thought we’d moved past the “Tim Burton’s Batman things are a mixture of antique and futuristic” approach). I also liked the implied message about the division in classes in our society, and how the idle rich literally have too much time on their hands. But, as a movie, In Time fails. How ironic that movie about people who don’t have long enough to live seems to go on forever.
In Time seriously wants us to believe the Cillian Murphy looks like a 25-year old on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no intrusive grain and no defects from the source material. The picture has a very crisp look which lends it a nice amount of depth and detail. There's a lick of primary colors -- a lot of green is used -- but the existing colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The action scenes offer excellent surround and stereo effects. These effects are nicely detailed and show good separation. The car chase scenes sound particularly good and provide subwoofer action which is palpable, but never overwhelming.
The In Time Blu-ray Disc contains few extras. "The Minutes" (17 minutes) is a faux-documentary which looks at life in the world of the movie. It contains an "interview" with one of the scientists who founded the new aging process (so I guess it's genetic). It also contains interviews with some of the characters who we saw in the movie. This doesn't add much to the movie, but it's interesting. Maybe the film should have been a documentary. The Disc contains ten DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES which run about 13 minutes. There is a scene here which sort of explains the bewildering bank robbery scene. Otherwise, these are all relatively short and don't add anything to the story. The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long