Hi friends! I’ve had a busy two months, with returning from my trip and taking an intense writing class over the month of January. While I adjust my routine and figure out my personal brand, here is a movie review I wrote on my trip of an indie dystopian. Enjoy!
I was first drawn to this movie for how it plays with time and power. In a dystopian future, time is the new money and “Darwinian capitalism” rules the masses. Unfortunately this intriguing premise is ruined with a generic plot and horrible characters. I don’t love doing bad reviews, but I’ll make an exception because I was inspired to fill in the gaps.
This “sci-fi noir” (early dystopian) film tells the story of Will Salas, a man who “just wants to wake up with more time on the clock then hours in the day.” After the death of his mother and an unrelated sudden inheritance, he heads to the capital to take down the oppressive dictator, with the help of said dictator’s bombshell daughter (Amanda Seyfried). The actual system collapse doesn’t start until an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie
This movie is actually similar to the (author) short story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, in that both explore the futility of greed and the endless hamster-wheel chase of survival in poverty.
While the movie has some interesting musings on capitalism, In Time suffers from what I call “Twilight syndrome”. Every side character is interesting and I want to explore their story, but I’m forced to watch Bonnie and Clyde stumble through a romance while destroying a nation. We have Henry Hamilton, a 105-year old who commits suicide and jumpstarts the “conflict”. We also local gang leader Fortis who is out to find Will and Sylvia and collect their bounty. And then we have Raymond Leon
This is Timekeeper Raymond Leon, and the whole reason I’m talking about this movie in the first place. Not only is Leon portrayed by our charming Cillian, he is far and away the most underrated character in this movie and the one with the most possibilities for backstory exploration. All we know about him is that he has been a timekeeper for 50 years, he was from Dayton but managed to escape, and he knew Will’s father. That alone is a more interesting use of the premise than the basic Robin Hood story we are given. His character arc is minor, but there’s room for interpretation of his motivations and actions. His ultimate demise casts the rest of his narrative into a new light, as a man failed by the system he fought to uphold.
This ending to Leon’s arc reminds me of Luke Castellan’s ending in The Last Olympian. Those that fight hardest for corrupt systems fall farthest when they are let down.
The movie as a whole feels underdeveloped and more fitting for a soap opera series. The collapse of a way of life is seen as a matter of course and powerful leaders react with alarming indifference. The police force also gives up with no fight, setting down their guns and walking away as Sylvia and Will overthrow the system in front of their eyes. I understand the social commentary this movie is aiming for, but even in the real world dismantling a system is never resistance-free. Anyone who calls themselves a feminist can attest to this reality of life,
I give this movie 5/10 for interesting premise, good visuals, and Raymond Leon. Half points docked for a mainly insufferable cast and a generic plot. If viewers want to become emotionally invested in a semi-relevant side character, they are free to watch this movie, but the general *plot* and leads are an utter waste of time.