In Time (Andrew Niccol, 2011)

Time is money, we all know the quote. Andrew Niccol acknowledged the concept by visually paraphrase it. How about "people buy time to cheat death"?

Imagine our world in the future where Time replace Money as the currency, human's DNA is genetically engineered, allow every human born and age like normal until 25 years old, that is where you stop aging, yes you read it right, stop aging, physically remain forever at 25 years old, well if you can. The catch is, you are given only another year to live after 25 years old and you have to earn a living (more like survival). The glowing countdown timer embedded at the forearm always reminds you how much time you have to live. Meaning you must work to make sure your timer do not run down to a series of zero numbers, which is equal to an instant death.

Ghetto is the place where the hardcore poor people live and earn their living day to day, their life expectancy is often left with days if not hours. Worker wages are paid in the currency of Time, people buy a cup of coffee of 4 minutes, a bus trip for 2 hours et cetera. While the poors are constantly facing the burden of currency inflation, life, however is lavishly rich on the other side, at a place called New Greenwich where people there can live for centuries without going through menopause. "Time zones" were created to keep wealthy folks from the poors because it cost an exorbitant fee to cross the border. Our blue-collar hero Justin Timberlake gets into trouble by involving in a murder crime, he goes on a run, trespass into New Greenwich and kidnap The Powerpuff Girl, I mean Amanda Seyfried, who played the billionaire's daughter. Both of them go on the run while the Timekeeper, a law enforcer (Cillian Murphy) is on their heel.

Himself a regular writer and director, Andrew Niccol's cine world is often relate to someone who tries to overcome an established (sometimes an unfair) system, Gattaca (1997) to me, will always be the pinnacle of his career, an exquisite work of inspiring art. The dystopian setting of In Time has a lot in common with Gattaca, both are based on a thought provoking idea eventhough the lacklustre storytelling of the former did not back up the far fetch premise. It has the usual car / on foot chase and be chased action, still I find myself a tad difficult to soak up the whole mumbo jumbo issue of human can live forever as long as the timer on their forearm is ticking. Well, call me a prejudice jerk, in movies, i accept people travel faster than light, heck i love Back to The Future series to death with its time travel stuff, but I cannot give the nod to anything that is related to EVERLASTING LIFE. Hence here it is, my cold shoulder towards the on screen lovely pair that I am suppose to care.

This movie only skim off the surface, where there are many repercussion in a society where the people are not going to age a bit after hitting quater of a century. Niccol need a team of experts (read: futurists) to cook up the plausible scenarios for In Time to be based on, not with this juvenile attempt. OK, before somebody undermine my understanding in this movie, let me say i got it, I am aware of the relevant social commentary, the inequity between the rich and the poor with the crooked corporate capitalism undertone. Though I love the overall look of the movie which to me is aesthetically elegance, it has a retro feel to it, with all the budget constrain, Niccol aptly created the retrospective future background, the tech noir-ish cars and architecture. Oh how I wish In time can rival Gattaca and The Truman Show (1998) that deeply evoked my emotion towards the triumph of the human spirit. 

I almost forgot to mention this: Forget the naysayer, once again it proves Justin Timberlake CAN act.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = Excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? Only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List

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