In Time  (Rated PG-13)  2 Stars 11-16-11-movie-review.jpg

I love a good science-fiction movie. Let me know if you hear about one coming out soon, because this one sucked. The major flaws include stupid dialogue, bad acting, characters with poorly realized motivations, and a series of thinly veiled references to class inequality. While writer/director Andrew Niccol has a few wins to brag about (The Truman Show, Gattaca), he really should hide In Time (109 minutes) at the bottom of his resume

.In a future sort of inspired by Logan’s Run and sort of ripped off from a Harlan Ellison short story (one of his better ones, in my opinion), people stop aging at the of age of 25, when a one-year clock starts counting down, and unless you earn more time, you die. Following your untimely death, you leave a fabulous looking corpse in the suspiciously clean ghetto streets, which then ap-parently disappear via some super-efficient yet completely unex-plained futuristic corpse-disappearing mechanism.

Each “Time Class” lives in a different “Time Zone.” The poor, including working class hero Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), work each day to earn enough money to pay the bills and earn a few more hours of life. The inhabitants of the lower-class “Time Zone” basically run around with a day or so left on their clocks, which makes me wonder what happens if somebody gets sick. Perhaps the Hippocratic Oath is under general suspension? Or have they found the cure for the common cold and wiped out all disability and disease? Maybe doctors only work for the rich? There are burning administrative questions going unanswered here!

While wandering around aimlessly, instead of working overtime for extra life, Salas runs into a 100-year-old man. Which really isn’t that old compared to characters introduced later in the film, but we are clearly supposed to be blown away by his Vampire Lestat-style boredom with immortality. The old man does the equivalent of flashing a roll of hundreds on a street with a lot of abandoned cars and shady guys, consequently attracting the attention of Fortis (Alex Pettyfer).

Apparently, Fortis is a mobster who spends his time stealing the time other people have earned and leaving them for dead. It seems like a major flaw in the system that stealing time is as simple as grabbing someone’s wrist. How could anyone sleep at night? If they got robbed they would totally wake up dead. Also, it must cost much less in time currency than it would cost in dollars to buy an international plane tick-et, since Fortis has a pretty random British accent. And several scenes establish that the mega-rich live wrapped in bubbles, and don’t take even the slightest risk of an accident cutting their lives short, so do people even fly commercial anymore?

So many questions, and we’re not even that far into the movie. Did I mention that movie-killer Olivia Wilde has a prominent role as well? As does Amanda Seyfried, playing the Patty Hearst of the movie, Sylvia Weis (So Niccol apparently ripped of the 1987 classic Dragnet as well).

See, when Salas ventures into the time-rich side of town he meets up with spoiled Weis and her daddy (Vincent Kartheiser). He kidnaps her and they find true love. It’s just like Bonnie and Clyde!

One wonders what Cillian Murphy was doing in this subpar, lackluster mess of a film. He really should have read the script, realized his character made next to no sense, and opted out. Overall, as much as the set tries to be retro-futuristic the film has a very sterile look. It was hard to sit through without laughing, and many of the lines were unintentionally hilarious. The movie could have been so good … but there was so much left unexplored.

Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

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