Sunday, October 30, 2011

Movie Night: In Time

Since I'm already ripping off Carrie Vaughn's writing, I might as well rip off her blogging, too.

In the opening moments, a brief narration tells us -- essentially -- "Suspend your disbelief and just go with it." A few problems aside, I was able to do so. Viewers inclined to nit-pick will have more trouble. In terms of story, there seemed to be a lot of wasted potential. The rich guy giving the impoverished hero 100 years at the beginning felt like it should have been significant, but it's just a means to get the plot rolling. Likewise, the issue of why the hero's father died is dropped abruptly. And the premise, in general, wasn't explored as well or as deeply as I would have liked. But it was an adequate film with good performances and structure. Sci-fi that favors ideas over special effects is rare enough to be praiseworthy despite its shortcomings.

You could argue that this film is a socialist or communist fable. Maybe. It depends on whether or not you consider Robin Hood a socialist fable, since it's basically the same idea. Here before us is a corrupt society where the privileged are few and the peasants are many. In comes this heroic criminal, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor in the name of social justice. With his hot girlfriend, which I suppose gives it a bit of Bonnie and Clyde too.

Regardless of that, people who want to get some perspective on the rage over class divides in America would do well to understand the underlying metaphor here. If you, like me, grew up middle-class in the suburbs, in a family that was living the American dream, you might never get your head around the idea that on a fundamental level, money is life. Those people in Zuccotti Park railing about their poor employment prospects and huge student loans aren't really afraid of someone being more comfortable or successful than them. They're afraid of one day dying in the gutter because they can't afford a meal, or freezing to death in the cold because they couldn't pay the rent. Writers are told: show, don't tell. A thousand men and women with placards talking about their problems can get the message across, but how much more powerful is the image of a woman dropping dead in the street because she went broke?

In Time is a crappy title, BTW. I suspect the whole reason for it is because they hope to make a sequel called Out of Time. I'd watch it.

1 comment:

  1. RE: suspension of disbelief - this is generally true, and you have to suspend a lot of disbelief to even get to the point where you can accept that time has become money, because that in and of itself is a near-impossible prospect to buy.

    That being said, even within the realm of the story, the contrivances are pretty big, and the story's themes are pretty heavy-handed. It's was one of those movies where the writer or director or perhaps both were utterly terrified that you might not get the significance of what they were trying to tell/show you, so they say it two or three times, just in case S:3

    And exactly what was on those little metal rectangles that JT and Red Riding Hood were handing out, anyway? Lots and lots of abstract concept?

    It's funny though, I saw the movie last week, and started reading 1984 this week. Funny how the socialist fable and the anti-socialist one end up portraying pretty similar dystopian futures.

    tl;dr at least I got to stare ot Cillian Murphy's (Timekeeper) gorgeous face pretty steadily for an entire movie. So very pretty, not to mention the epitome of cool~


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