A Review of ‘In Time’ (2011)

This film has ruined my entire fucking evening.

I bought ‘In Time’ on DVD ages ago when it was, like, £2 on Amazon or something, probably about thirty minutes after it came out on DVD, in fact, and I could’ve fucking sworn it was shite. I didn’t even remember most of it, it was that bloody bad.

So I shove it back in the XBox tonight so I can take notes on all the ways it failed. Yes, I take notes, my anger has become so unrelenting that it’s the one thing that can motivate me to be organised. And I’m watching this turd, preparing to describe great big steaming piles of cinematic excrement, and it can’t even suck properly.

cillian
C’mon, Cillian, can’t you see that this was meant to be a shit film? Can’t you just do a crap job, chew up the scenery and forget a few lines? Don’t make me enjoy this would-be shitefest.

About half an hour in, I realise I’m enjoying myself. Justin Fucking Whatshisface, who I remember being abjectly abominable as an actor in this very film, is managing to deliver a natural performance. Y’know, not perfect, but not exactly Kevin Costner either. What can I do with that? What do you expect me to do with that, Justin? My entire thing is being negative and whinging about stuff that doesn’t matter as though I’m the least self-aware douchebag on the planet, but nooooo, you have to go and be mostly convincing.

It’s okay, though, because I distinctly remember these useless bastards fucking up the workings of this film’s particular gimmick. Like, I remember very much that Justin Beaverlake’s arm-countdown thingy was completely inconsistent between shots. So this time, I decide to note it down, so I can rip it all to pieces.

But I was wrong. They were right. They got it right. I mean, they were probably a few minutes out or something, but they got it Right.

Those wankers.

Why? What did I do to deserve this? An hour in already, and you’ve got a villain who’s believable. You’ve got a love interest who actually has a personality. You’ve got these annoying, fucking perfect shots with excellent atmospheric lighting. The soundtrack never misses a beat. The entire cast is fucking beautiful, especially Amanda Seyfried but especially Cillian Murphy.

All I want, all I need, is another Hollywood film with huge plot holes and pointless characters and glaring inconsistencies and laughable dialogue, and instead I get this fucking well-put-together, competent, enjoyable movie with fucking compelling character interactions and an interesting premise and by now I’ve already overused italics to the point that I feel disgusted with myself, almost as much as when I look at my own browsing history.

It is entirely unfair that the biggest issue I can cite with ‘In Time’ is a lack of fucking ambition. I mean, I could try to spin out my complaints over its lack of world development into a full-length, profanity-fucking-riddled admonition, but I didn’t even find it that irritating. Sure, they missed a trick by just making the rich people live lives identical to modern-day rich people, and yes, I find it totally fucking unbelievable that a bunch of intelligent individuals living hundreds of years at their physical prime wouldn’t have at least something interesting to do with their time, like mastering every language or answering philosophical questions or dedicating themselves to scientific research.

Y’know, of course the comparison to fucking contemporary capitalism is heavy-handed and clumsy, and I absolutely feel that the portrayal of the wealthy was a little too shallow, simple-minded and hypocritical, but that hardly detracts from the main enjoyment of the film, that’s more a complaint about what the film could have been, and that’s not particularly compelling for the kind of person who willfully inserts the word “fucking” into his blog posts to make it seem like he’s angry when he’s actually just sort of entertained and pleasantly fucking surprised.

No, wait! The puns!

This film is riddled with puns to the same extent that George Lucas is presumably riddled with self-loathing. Here’s a tip, moron film-makers, any attempt at a serious tone for your film about time being used as a currency is ludicrously undermined by calling the law enforcers “Time Keepers”, thugs who steal other people’s time “Minutemen”, the different bands of wealth “Time Zones” and all the crap about “Who has time for a girlfriend?”

I’m here for a God-damned train wreck, but you’re giving me a mostly fun mix of action-adventure/pursuit-thriller instead of bogging yourself down with details and explanations for how your stupid economy works. I mean, what, are you trying to make your film marketable or something? Give me a fucking break. I need you to clog up your script with pointless exposition about Time exchange-rates so that I can rip the dialogue apart for not being character-focused enough.

Let’s be straight, ‘In Time’, you’re not going to be winning any Oscars anyway, so why bother being even half-way decent? You’ve got the perfect B-movie premise and all of the material you need to be shitty shlock, why go to all the effort of providing an entertaining ride with a charismatic pair of leads? Cillian Murphy could have intentionally phoned it in through every scene, totally aware of the fact he was wasting his time with a pointless endeavour, but instead he had to go and be all “I’m acting like this is a real film” and stuff.

Just, I… I really wanted to slam this film, but after watching it I really want to recommend it, and I can’t really do either. It’s a well-rounded dystopian sci-fi adventure film, so it’s not going to be satisfying for anyone looking for something to hate. But, I can’t recommend it as a film that you should see – if you happen to watch it you’ll enjoy it, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It fails to do anything interesting with its own premise beyond standard action-adventure stuff.

So I can’t rant, I can’t rave. I just have to sit here, frustrated, annoyed and let down. You let me down, ‘In Time’. You’re… you’re not even fucking mediocre, you’re just good. Not interesting, not abysmal, not revolutionary and not derivative. Just… Good. Solid. Entertaining. Unambitious but fun. I don’t need fun. I need incredible, or shit.

I’ve just moved my review of ‘Prometheus’ a few places up the schedule.


 

Also, they put in all of those fucking puns, but didn’t call their protagonist, played by Justin Woodypond, “Justin Time”? Fucking waste.

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