I didn’t even know I was set to review In Time. I had just got off an awful Ryanair flight and found it waiting for me at home. I subsequently fell asleep through most of the movie. To my annoyance the many car crashes kept waking me up. What filtered through wasn’t very good so I was particularly upset that I had to watch it the next day from start to finish
In Time is a science fiction action film starring Justin Timberlake. It is set in a world where everyone stops ageing at the age of 25 and thereafter one only has a year to live, unless one can earn or steal more time. Therefore, in this world, the rich live for hundreds of years while the poor die young. Time remaining is represented by a ticking green countdown on the wrist. This premise is great but it is not utilised well enough.
In Time fails to entertain or be interesting because it is too busy telling a mediocre Bonnie and Clyde/Robin Hood tale. The story is second hand and so is the action; dull car chases lead to dull shootouts. (The word dull will be used six more times in this review. I do have a larger vocabulary but this simply suits it so well).
In Time is amazingly dull visually. Which is a real surprise considering Roger Deakins is the cinematographer, certainly one of the best working today. His work is constantly enthralling when he teams with the Coen Brothers or Sam Mendes, so you have to think that he is either being directed poorly here or he hasn’t got much to work with.
The locations in this futuristic world are some of the least interesting I have ever seen. It looks like it was filmed behind factories at night because that way permits weren’t needed. Never has a futuristic world looked duller. The costumes are dull and so is all the futuristic technology. Cars simply have a glowing white line at the front and instead of just going “Brooom” they go “Brooomzzz”. Guns look exactly the same as they do now and instead of going “Bang” they go “Bangzz”. It looks as though very little thought has gone into the design of this world.
It is upsetting because the writer and director behind the film is Andrew Niccol, the man behind Gattaca but then again this is just the sort of film you’d expect from the man behind S1m0ne. To say that Niccol has a mixed CV is an understatement, and this is not up there with his best work.
So: are the performances dull? On the whole… yes. There are some good ones. Cillian Murphy as a Time Keeper, which is basically a time cop (not like Jean Claude) and Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men and Angel who plays a businessman. He was born to play the role of someone who never ages. Then there are stand out bad performances, mainly Alex Pettyfer as a British street gangster (a particularly odd inclusion in an all American world). Pettyfer is a pretty boy who has yet to be in a good film and yet to be good in a bad one.
Then you have the two leads: Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Years ago when I heard that Justin Timberlake was becoming an actor I was sick in my mouth. I hate current music and I am envious of multi-talented people. So when I saw The Social Network I was appalled to see how good Timberlake was in it. Here he isn’t so good, but it’s come too late; I know he can act and that upsets me. He and Amanda Seyfried have no chemistry and make for an astonishingly dull couple.
The biggest crime of In Time is to waste such a good idea. The few good things about the film are swamped by the bad ones. I should end this review with a witty pun using time or how much of a waste of it watching this film was but instead I will get right to the point: In Time is a very dull movie.
Reviewer: Harry Davenport
Release Date: 27th February 2012 (UK)
Directed By: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy
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