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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: IN TIME

Value is a thing of faith. Cash is physically worth nothing but paper, ink, and in the case of coins, metal. Sometimes, as in the case of the penny the metal is worth more than the value attached to the object; the copper in a penny is worth 1.5 cents approximately, but most of the times it is the reverse; a $100 bill costs about 50 cents to make. I won’t claim to be an expert in economics, but I do understand why some people argue that we should go back to the gold standard (whatever that means), or just get rid of cash altogether and switch to digital points as if life were a video games. I'm pretty sure we are much closer to actually doing the latter than going back to metallic standards.

In Time, comes up with an intriguing proposal about using our lifetime as -basically- cash. A cup of coffee costs ninety minutes of your life, a taxi to midtown a year. In this world the rich are semi-immortal, with a million years to spend, and the poor live day by day; spending most of their daily wages on sleep just so they can rest in order to earn their hours the next day. 

For Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), time is a luxury; when he turned 25 he used the reminder of his time to pay off his mother’s debts and now they both live day-to-day in the slums. All this changes when Will has a conversation with a man who claims to have lived 100 years and still has a century in the bank. But, the old man is tired of living; immortality just isn’t as fun as it sounds. So he gives Will the remaining 100 years before he jumps off a bridge. Of course no one believes Will when he claims someone just gave 100 years away; soon Will finds himself in a high-speed chase, involving Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried in a sexy red wig), the daughter of the richest man alive and the local sheriff (Cillian Murphy). Interesting thing about how the police force works in this world; they only get to live another day if the catch their man. For the sheriff this is as much a life and death situation as it is for Will. 

The premise is intriguing, and no surprise it was written and directed by Sci Fi veteran Andrew Niccol, who gave us Gattaca. Like Gattaca, In Time shows us a world where people’s lives are shaped on a technology that has completely reshaped society.  Here, peole wear their wallets on their arms, as a clock that is tic-tocking away the years, months, days, and hours. Time is uploaded or downloaded to the clock when people earn, borrow, and spend. And the most exciting moments happen when one has just a few seconds to gamble in a poker match.  

The movie, I guess, is some allegory for the economy. But there are significant amounts of unanswered questions, and the more you think about it the weaker the premise becomes. But I will give it its due credit, this movie makes you ask those questions - nowadays very few movies do- and on top of that it is damn fun. It is more than good entertainment if you have an open weekend afternoon on the TV. 

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