Complete review of In Time available at the Herald.

I’d like to say a lot about In Time, but I’m not sure I’m going to, because I’m joining a friend in National Novel Writing Month this…month and completing 50,000 words amidst my other responsibilities (such as reviewing movies) is going to require an extra level of a word I suddenly can’t remember. Seriously, I’m blanking. It means “doing what you’re supposed to rather than what you want to.” Discipline! It will require an extra level of discipline. Meaning I don’t have a ton of time or energy to spend blogging about not-very-good movies I’ve already been paid to write about. Although I should write something about NaNoWriMo, which I think is stupid and valuable in equal measures.

But In Time is interesting because it’s seriously angry about wealth inequality in the United States and is also a Hollywood blockbuster starring Justin Timberlake. Attempted blockbuster, anyway. I think it’s only going to pull in tens of millions of dollars rather than hundreds. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who’s done several sci-fi movies including the semi-classic Gattaca, In Time has plenty of potential. Good concept. In on the “the rich may be too rich” zeitgeist. An interesting cast, including Timberlake, who appears to want to be a big-time movie star but isn’t yet, Amanda Seyfried, who keeps getting high-profile work despite my never being impressed by her (though she’s kinda good as a rebellious rich girl here), and the always-reliable Cillian Murphy as a semi-bad guy police officer.

The problem is In Time‘s plot is unshaped for a long period of time–Timberlake, pushed into bringing the system crashing down by a mysterious stranger, hatches a revolutionary plan that is indistinguishable from a sexy young dude deciding to spend a weekend in Vegas. Eventually, he and Seyfried go all Bonnie and Clyde all over everyone’s asses, but that is a long, long ways into the movie.

The ongoing mess of coincidence, allegory, and clumsy political zeal turns something that could be as important as it is entertaining into a thing that is neither. Too bad, because what In Time is trying to do is exactly what we could use more of. Maybe next time.

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