04 November 2011

In Time

Written & Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Full credits at IMDb

The latent cultural rage that recently erupted in Occupy Wall Street protests has apparently been percolating within writer-director Andrew Niccol too. His latest sci-fi allegory is essentially one furious attack on the ruling elite and their calculated system of economic inequality—but with much higher stakes and more transparent morality than the grievances aired at Zuccotti. Here, time is currency: thanks to genetic engineering, eternal life as your 25-year-old self is possible, as long as you can afford to buy the time (and don't get in an accident or murdered). Of course, most people in In Time can't—they live literally day to day, working no-collar factory jobs in exchange for a few measly hours (moved like modern money in rapid electronic transactions), stepping over the expired bodies that litter the streets. This is an action movie, with skinny dipping, strip poker, car chases, and car crashes. But it's also as thoughtful as you'd expect from the man behind Gattaca, full of debates about income disparity, the morality of capitalism, and whether human nature would make a different system unsustainable. (The biggest problem is that the plot's gimmicky artifice, its blatant metaphor, makes its many tragedies clearly manufactured; this is a world in which insufficient bus fare literally becomes a matter of life and death!)

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