+++ Opinion +++
Even though “Black Mirror’ regularly appears on TV leaderboards, the serial phenomenon has given us a new insult: ‘It feels like a ‘Black Mirror’-Episode’ is a phrase that is often used in film reviews – and it is almost always meant negatively. A curiosity about which oneBlack Mirror“-consecution should make! Until then, watch (again) a movie starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried as a (less self-destructive) Bonnie & Clyde double: The sci-fi action thriller “In Time – Your time is running out” can be seen today, October 15, 2022, from 8:15 p.m. on VOX and takes place in a world that has a “Black Mirror’ episode could fill.
It just barely escaped this comparison in the cinema, as it was released shortly before the start of series production. Instead, it was measured against the previous work of its director and author – often negatively, but there were also positive exceptions such as the DashFUN criticism. I can only agree with that, especially now that the dystopia has had eleven years to mature: “In Time” combines a clear vision with the pizzazz of an “Ocean’s Eleven”-style thug posse and other Heist movies!
Mankind has managed to stop the aging process. However, more than ever, time is money. Services, food, and luxuries are all paid for with a lifetime, which is why the privileged are nearly immortal. On the other hand, those lower down the social ladder live in constant fear of death. When ghetto dweller Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) loses his mother (Olivia Wilde) to a banality and is soon falsely accused of murder, he comes up with a desperate plan:
He kidnaps the banker’s daughter Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) to gain time and power. Will lands a lucky hit: Sylvia is a questioning stubborn person. The two become a gangster couple who plan to take the time of the rich and give it to the poor with raids. Sylvia’s father (Vincent Kartheiser) and cop Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) stand in their way…
As the creator of the oppressive dystopia “Gattaca” and author of the emotional, media-critical dramedy “The Truman Show”, Andrew Niccol had to face enormous expectations for a long time. Each new project was scrutinized according to how meaningful and engaging it is, some critics didn’t seem to want lightness from him. Against this background, “In Time” had a hard time asserting itself in the eyes of the US film press, as it turns a dramatic and gloomy vision of the future into a snappy robber’s gun.
However, if you look at the sci-fi posse on its own, it immediately ticks quite differently. Likewise, remembering that not every dystopia has to be consistently devastating. Admonishing and at the same time stimulating action with hope also has its value. That also recognized “Black Mirror”, which loosened up the concept in later seasons with isolated, positive episodes – but unlike “In Time” at a time when there was a longing for this approach.
“In Time” uses the timeless fantasy of eternal youth as a springboard for a criticism of the system that is as obvious as it is consistent: It perfectly sums up a society in which some live in abundance and others make sure that there is plenty elsewhere by making sacrifices. Because if you have money, you have influence and can delegate – you have time. If you have no money, you work hard – and all too often not only have little free time, but also less time to live.
It is said that doing nothing makes you bored to death. But when people work themselves to death from working their minds and bodies, that’s what actually happens. Translating this unequal distribution of money, social and economic security and thus quality of life directly into lifetime is a cinematic premise that is as simple as it is ingenious. and let’s face it: if eternal youth were to be invented, ways would definitely be sought to unequally capitalize on it!
The fact that Niccol wasted no time in forming a mixture of “Bonnie & Clyde”, “Robin Hood” and “Ocean’s Eleven” from the “In Time” basic idea is therefore spurring wishful thinking: A vital couple of thieves hang in the eternally young “Teens get her star cut across the bed!” look that robs exploiters of time to give to those whose time has been stolen by injustice? Who wants to say “No!” to that?
Niccol explores this fantasy of justice briskly, with cheeky dialogue and entertaining Heist Movie set pieces – but unfortunately it doesn’t sound full out. Individually, Timberlake and Seyfried, for example, are well cast. In interaction, however, their roles lack a certain spark due to the script, direction and chemistry of the actors – be it danger, passion, languishing romance or cunning complicity. Therefore steal from themBatman Begins’ villain Cillian Murphy multiple times the show.
Aesthetically, too, Niccol runs out of tinder in between: while at the beginning new details constantly catch the eye that explore the film world and its implications, the film world later becomes somewhat monotonous. The luxury islands offer so many possibilities in an otherwise dry-would-be-nice-new world – for sci-fi shenanigans, social commentary and/or crook fun.
Nevertheless: As an entertaining sci-fi film with a deeper meaning, “In Time” is simply a good time. And eleven more years of consistently accelerating capitalism later, it’s even more so today than it was in 2011!