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In the not-too-distant future the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries and necessities. The rich can live forever, while the rest try to negotiate for their immortality. A poor young man who comes into a fortune of time, though too late to help his mother from dying. He ends up on the run from a corrupt police force known as 'time keepers'.
For more about In Time and the In Time Blu-ray release, see In Time Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on February 1, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer
Director: Andrew Niccol
» See full cast & crew
In Time Blu-ray Review
Tick, tock, Timberlake can't stop.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, February 1, 2012
Time is money, so goes the expression, but what if the seconds, minutes, and hours in a day were actual currency? That's the core premise of the sci-fi snoozer In Time, which over-stretches the pithy little saying into a feature-length extended metaphor about immortality, the value of life, and the injustices of capitalism. What's next? A horror version of nothing is certain but death and taxes, featuring a knife-wielding IRS auditor? A legal thriller based on judge not, lest ye be judged? A full-on cinematic adaptation of Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac? I eagerly await your script treatments.
The film was written, directed, and produced by Andrew Niccol, whose feature debut, Gattaca--a slick cautionary tale about a eugenics-driven dystopia--gave him some serious sci-fi street cred, which he promptly lost after 2002's S1m0ne, his flat Hollywood satire about a computer- generated actress. Unfortunately, In Time will do little to earn back the affections of sci-fi fans. Released right at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the film's themes of wealth redistribution and class warfare are timely but underdeveloped, with about as much intellectual substance as Disney's Robin Hood. This is kiddie-grade Marxism, which might be forgivable if the movie were more entertaining or original. Instead, it feels like it's been pieced together slipshod from the spare parts of better sci-fi films.
In the film's parallel, not-so-distant future universe, scientists have solved the problem of death. All humans now have the potential to live forever. But there's a catch. A hefty one, mandated by the sheer fact that Earth's resources simply can't support an ever- increasing population that never dies. When you reach the age of twenty five--at which point your physical appearance is locked into place for good--a phosphorescent green- glowing clock on your right forearm begins ticking down. Everyone is allotted one year's worth of time to start. If it runs out, you keel over, dead. To get more time you have to work for it or beg for it, and it can be transferred between people by clasping forearms in a sort of glorified Roman handshake. Instead of money, everything now costs "time," from coffee and cigarettes to rent and utility bills. Obviously, there's a huge disparity between the rich--the, um, one-percenters who live in the sequestered "time zone" of New Greenwich and are practically immortal--and the poor, blue-collar folks in the slums who scrape through each day with mere minutes to spare.
Our hero is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a factory worker who puts in long hours trying to support himself and his super-hot mom, played by Olivia Wilde. (Remember, in this world, everyone looks twenty five.) They live in a dingy apartment in the Dayton ghetto--a scuffed up future version of LA's Skid Row--and survive day-to-day, literally making barely enough to survive. Will's fate changes when he saves the wealthy Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from a gang of roving time bandits oh-so-cleverly known as The Minutemen. Henry, now 105 years old, is tired of living and sick of the fact that "for a few to be immortal, many must die." While Will is sleeping, Henry bequeaths an entire century to his rescuer and suicidally times himself out. But Will doesn't even get to enjoy his newfound time-cushion. That night, his mother--unaware of the fortune that awaits her--dies when she can't afford her bus fare home. Ah, the cruel, cruel irony. Actually, what's cruel is the the dippy way the film tries to force this end-of-the- first-act death into a huge, emotionally intense moment, with mother and son running toward each other dramatically with seconds on the clock while vaguely Coldplay-ish music swells in the background.
The death is the catalyst Will needs to become a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing centuries from the rich--who are portrayed as having stole it themselves--and redistributing the wealth to the time-strapped. With 100 years on his forearm, he sets off for New Greenwich, intending to wreak havoc on an unjust economic system personified by Philippe Weis (Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser), the world's richest man and the sort of guy who would wager a 13-figure time sum on a single poker hand. Of course, Will--posing as a man who comes "from time"-- gets involved with Weis' smoky-eyed daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), who hates how no one in New Greenwich has the balls to truly live life because they're all so worried about offing themselves in a car crash or freak accident. Together, they set off on a Bonnie and Clyde-type spree, pursued by veteran "Timekeeper" Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), whose job is to track down the perpetrators of time-related crimes.
Although you might think the synopsis sounds at least mildly promising--and it is--the execution is decidedly off the mark. In Time isn't horrible, but it is unoriginal and underwhelming. This is sub-B-grade sci-fi at best. The main problem is that the film's allegorical intensions are way too obvious. "Show, not tell" is a good rule of thumb when writing anything, but In Time can't keep its mouth shut. The dialogue is as stilted as stilted gets, and overburdened with hokey, time-referencing one-liners, like "You've taken years off my father's life," or "Why do today what you can do in a century?" We get it. You start to feel that Andrew Niccol is beating you over the head with the central metaphor, a tactic that's somehow condescending while also revealing just how superficial the script actually is. The ideas presented here are barely surface- scratching when it comes to possibilities suggested by the premise, and the film's emotions don't go any deeper.
Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are likable enough onscreen--and I've actually come to respect Timberlake as an actor--but their natural chemistry just isn't enough to carry the story. We don't really buy them as dimensional; they're the standard-issue couple on the run from the law, and their relationship just isn't convincingly developed. The other characters aren't much better. Vincent Kartheiser's Weis is a cardboard cutout of an impossibly rich, self-serving d-bag, and despite his Matrix-y cloths, Cillian Murphy's Timekeeper is just another world-weary cop on the verge of retirement. (You can practically hear him saying I'm too old for this s--t.) Everything about the film is generic, from the vaguely futuristic sets and costume design to the obligatory and lifeless action scenes. Waste of Time might've been a better title.
In Time Blu-ray, Video Quality
I know I've talked some smack about In Time, but damn is this a good-looking film on Blu-ray. It was shot by the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, who's best known for working on just about all of the Coen brothers' movies, including the gorgeous No Country for Old Men. Deakins simply has an uncanny understanding of how to manipulate light and shadow. I mean, look at that screenshot of Justin Timberlake looking out the window--it's practically a Vermeer painting. The exposure, the black levels, and the contrast in the film's 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation are spot-on. Perfect. Unable to be improved. But we're just getting started in the visual goodness the film has to offer. The sense of clarity is exceptional, and nearly every shot contains highly refined detail in the areas where you most notice it--the textures of the actors' faces and clothing. The color toning is excellent too, with a generally warm cast and rich, dense hues. Since the film was shot digitally using the Arri Alexa camera you don't have to worry about print damage of any kind, and both source noise and compression artifacts are kept to an absolute minimum. I have no qualms about giving this one full marks.
In Time Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The film's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track might not be as immediately striking as the sumptuous high definition visuals, but this well-grounded action movie mix definitely deserves its share of praise. From the clanging factory noise we hear early on at Will's workplace, it's clear that a good deal of thought has been put into the sound design. While this isn't the most immersive or hardest hitting track, the rear channels are put to use fairly often for ambience and effects--electric cars whirring through the soundspace, gunshots pinging between speakers, room noise at a futuristic bar--and the mix is dynamically solid, the action frequently accentuated by low subwoofer rumble. Like so many other aspects of the film, Craig Armstrong's score is somewhat generic--typically propulsive action film stuff--but it at least sounds full and forceful. There were a few fleeting moments when I felt like I needed to bump up the volume a hair to better understand what the characters were saying, but for the most part dialogue is clear, clean, and nicely balanced in the mix. For those who might need or want them, the disc includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles, English descriptive audio, and French and Spanish dubs.
In Time Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In Time Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
In Time could've been so much better if it were a good thirty minutes longer--the characters and sci-fi world are criminally underdeveloped--and way less obvious when it comes to the script's overarching metaphor, a simplified Marxist fable built more out of cliches than real ideas. It's not awful, and it's certainly watchable, but I just didn't find anything particularly special about it. That said, it looks fantastic on Blu-ray, so if you're the sort that's easily swayed by stunning picture quality, you might consider giving In Time a rental.
In Time: Other Editions
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In Time Blu-ray, News and Updates
• In Time Blu-ray - December 16, 2011
Next year, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring In Time to Blu-ray. The futuristic thriller imagines both a world where units of time act as the world's most powerful currency as well as what happens when one disillusioned young man (Justin Timberlake, ...
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