Thursday, May 3, 2012

Never Netflix This: In Time

A little introduction: throughout the past couple of years writing on this blog, I have noticed that it's quite rare when I write reviews on bad or mediocre movies. But it does make sense. Why would I choose to waste money on a movie ticket or waste valuable Netflix-queue space watching something that I don't really care about? After all, I'm not getting paid to do this. But every now and again, films come along that fall short of expectation. From now on, I will incorporate these films into a new blog series: "Never Netflix This:", an incredibly clever play on my world-famous "Netflix This:". Just a paragraph or two, warning you of the epic failures or barely misses of some of the skidmarks on the face of cinema. Let's start with...

     In Time. I should have known, right? It stars Justin Timberlake. But Justin Timberlake was actually good in The Social Network. Not the kind of good that is serviceable or barely noticable, but the kind of good that actually impressed me. I guess director David Fincher can make anyone look talented. And it's not that J.T. is bad in In Time. He's fine: it's the film that suffers from a lackluster script (and--really--story altogether). It had plenty of potential to be a great modern sci-fi film. You know the overused saying, "Time is money"? Well, time literally is money in In Time. By the year 2161, everyone in humanity stops aging once they hit 25 years old. To live past that age, you have to earn time just as one earns money: working for it, borrowing it, or stealing it. Every human's time remaining is shown on their arm, ticking down to their death.
     Essentially, the wealthy and ultra-rich have no problem staying 25 years old forever: they've got all of the "time" in the world. The poor live in the ghettos, barely getting to their next paycheck before their time runs out. When Timberlake's character, who usually only has one day's worth of time ticking away at his wrist, meets a mysterious stranger at a bar who transfers all of his time to J.T. while he is sleeping (116 years worth of time), J.T. has to decide what to do with more-than-a-lifetime's worth of years. The premise is great, and is ripe with opportunity for awesome sci-fi chase scenes and exciting action set pieces. Unfortunately, that's not what the viewer gets. We get the script that over-explains and simplifies every detail for the viewer and shies away from innovative action intrigue. And that's surprising, considering the director and writer is Andrew Niccol who directed Gattaca, wrote the wonderful The Truman Show, and directed and wrote the entertaining Lord of War. Unfortunately, he fires a blank here: In Time is a film with a promising plot but a disappointing execution.

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