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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Niccol’

Please not this is not a review and does contain plot spoilers.

Set in a slick stylised alternate reality/near future with a retro-future look where people are genetically engineered. Andrew Niccol’s In Time sounds a lot like the directors 1999 modern classic Gattaca. A line in the review in Empire “has none of Gattaca’s subtlety” got me thinking about how it will age. The reason, now regarded as a modern classic Gattaca was less revered on its release, a look back at the same magazine reveals a less than positive review with two out of five stars (one less than In Time) and a verdict including the line “Gattaca is far easier to look at than actually watch”. In Time is also well photographed and beautifully styled with a similar look albeit on a vaster (read more expensive) canvas.

For those not familiar, In Time is set in a world where thanks to the aforementioned genetic engineering everyone stops aging at 25, at this time a clock on their arm starts ticking down until they die at 26 unless they can earn more time. Replacing money, time is also a currency and the system is designed to keep the rich, rich and virtually immortal and the poor, poor and destined to die young.

Despite the fact films tend to spend years in preproduction In Time feels particularly relevant. The high concept is a perfect analogy for the mess the world economy has become, this is where the movie could date. However beyond this idea there is also a strong existential subtext that is kept surprisingly close the surface. Expressed by Amanda Seyfried’s character Sylvia Weis, given the opportunity to live indefinitely the value of life is raised to a level that prevents people from truly living. The flipside to this is the underclass who spend their lives a day from potential death and therefore forced to live each day like their last.

The catalyst that makes the story possible is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who travels across the “time zones” that separate the rich from the poor. Wills journey is made possible by a gift of time from a suicidal man who at over a hundred years old has lost his desire for life but more importantly it is motivated by the death of his mother who “times out” thanks to the increased cost of living. The two elements and their ultimate collision gives the movie and extra dimension that the similar themed Logan’s Run (1976) lacked.

So how will it age? I actually think quite well, with an attractive young cast giving strong performances in a film that has a good balance between lightweight Sci-Fi fun and deeper and deeper social comments the movie has more to offer than you would expect.

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