The Reel Deal with Missy & Molly Is ‘In Time’ worth your time?

Missy Katner

Lumen Assistant Editor

&

Molly Grosskreutz

A&E Assistant Editor 

In the not-too-distant future, people stop aging at 25. After that, everyone is given one more year to live.  Cash is not the currency—time is—and the only way to survive is to literally buy more time. “In Time” centers on Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a working class schmo from the ghetto who wakes up every day with only hours on the clock imprinted in his arm.  After he is accused of murdering a man and stealing a century off his clock, Will must go on the run.  At the same time, he begins a vendetta against the rich who have the means to live forever.

MK: Where to begin. It might as well be with, arguably, the strongest part of the movie and the most compelling character: the “rich” man who wanders into the ghetto. He has over 100 years on his fluorescent arm-clock and informs Will that humans aren’t meant to live forever. By giving away his time to Will, the rich man chooses to end his life instead of continuing onward aimlessly and without purpose. Let’s just say, I wished the movie had realized its one moment of wisdom and followed suit.

MG:  Missy, I kept a secret from you as we walked out of the theater. I liked this movie!  I am going to do my best to advocate for it here.  Regarding the opening sequence, I agree that the “rich” man bites the dust too early.  Although that may just be my pre-teen self wanting to stare at him for two more hours.  He comes out of nowhere, and goes off to nowhere, making him solely a plot device.

MK: I am stunned, Molly! I’ll even use the word bamboozled! I actually am intrigued by the fundamental concept of this movie. It was similar to “Logan’s Run” (some might say a rip-off) with its age-limiting society, and other futuristic, quasi-apocalyptic tales. In this movie, people watch as the seconds of their life tick away—it is a constant mind game.

MG: As someone unaware that “Logan’s Run” even existed before you told me so, I was fascinated by the fundamental concept of this film.  Paying for coffee with minutes instead of dollars?  Brilliant and thought-provoking idea.  This film chips away at themes that (painfully) reveal some of the ugliest aspects of capitalism, much of which are driven by our determination to prolong our youth.

MK:  I agree that it painfully reveals some of our society’s worst qualities such as its obsession with time management (extra emphasis on painfully). In the right director’s hands, this movie could have succeeded. It should have been darker, weirder, and less blockbuster-ed. Someone like Alfonso Cuaron, Chris Nolan, or even Tim Burton could have done the job. And probably would have cast an actor as the lead. If you didn’t catch it, that was a burn to JT. Watching Timberlake screaming in agony over the death of his character’s mother, it was tragic—that I had to sit through it.

 MG:  It’s not a secret: I loathe Justin Timberlake as an actor.  Therefore, I had extremely low expectations for him going into this movie.  The whole mother-dying-in-his-arms moment was horrifically and poorly acted, BUT I found myself actually rooting for the guy at some points.  I was not expecting that to happen.  Drama is not his thing, but he did the best he could….and I understand his mass appeal.

MK: I have respect for Timberlake due to his ridiculously over-the-top performances on Saturday Night Live. During the movie, I kept expecting him to suddenly be dressed as a soup cup and sing “Soup, there it is.” Comedy works for him, drama not so much. Amanda Seyfried costarred as the daughter of a wealthy businessman who Will kidnaps for leverage over the timekeepers (police).

MG: I think Amanda Seyfried is adorable in absolutely any role she plays.  Her character lacks refinement, but again, I thought Seyfried did the best she could with the script she was handed.  I like the sense of grit and edge about her.

MK: Seyfried could have been replaced with a statue for most of the movie, and I wouldn’t have noticed. Her character was so disjointed and so undefined that she didn’t seem to know whether to be the love interest, desperate comic relief, resilient hostage, or bank robber. So what we get is all of the above.  Most disappointing of all was the wasted talent of Cillian Murphy. He just seemed mundane as the corrupt timekeeper on Will’s tail. He makes an excellent film villain, but we’ve seen this character before, multiple times.

MG:  I was not surprised when Cillian Murphy walked into the scene for the first time.  It seems like he’s been in lots of futuristic, mind-bending-type movies lately (remember “Inception”?).  Say what you will, I like him.  I always fight with myself on whether I think he’s creepy or just misunderstood.

MK: I’d like to point out our title as a little tribute to this movie. The puns were thick, my friends. Time shares, out-of-time, timekeepers, clocking out. The list goes on and on. Now I’m going to try. Make this movie a drinking game with the word “time”? We would have been dead 10 times over. [Warning: don’t try it with this review either].

MG:  I do agree with this, too.  The writers did go a lot overboard on the puns, but in a way, I think they’re sort of necessary.  When you create an altogether new or alternate world, stores and other every day things have to be labeled so that the viewer can understand how that world differs from our own.

MK: Lame father-stole -from-the-rich-and-gave -to-the-poor storyline? Time to get some new writers.

MG:  This film was a futuristic Robin Hood adaptation, yes.  But I will say again that the concept was refreshing, and the world the filmmakers created felt authentic and believable.

MK: This movie played like a bad movie preview that other bad movies make fun of. “The Holiday,” anyone? In an attempt to make itself more profound, the movie was peppered with political commentary including lazy references to social Darwinism, the evils of capitalism, and the altruism-hating upper class.

MG:  But is that so bad?  Though this film was not perfectly executed, the underlying concept it explores redeems it for me.  This is a film that actually tries to say something and comment on society, instead of being just another “Jackass”-type of entertainment.

MK: I appreciate that they tried to make something with more cinematic weight, but all in all, this movie was a mess. And not even ridiculous enough to make fun of while I mourned the loss of nine dollars. When the credits rolled, all I could do was exclaim, “I want the last 90 minutes of my life back, hypocritical movie fiends!”

 

Final Verdict: 

MG:  See it once.

MK: Thumbs down.

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