In Time movie review

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Last night, we watched In Time, which is a retro-futuristic cyberpunk Robin Hood story. I don’t understand why it got so many bad reviews because it was actually a very profound concept that was explored in a very interesting and appealing way. One review claimed it was poorly executed. There was one car crash scene where the physics displayed with computer graphics looked very fake, so I’ll give them that, but the rest of the film was done well. Also, considering it was a fantasy, certain unrealistic moments can be overlooked as the film isn’t trying to be a thriller as much as it is exploring philosophy of money and time and the relationship between the two and the persons involved.

The world of In Time is set in the second half of the 21st century where everyone is genetically engineered to stop aging after 25 years at which point their clock begin to count down one year and where this time is the only currency of this world. People can make time by working, just like people today make money by working jobs. People can give time to one another either as payment or gift. Throughout the entire movie, the word “money” is never used. Essentially, one could replace the word “time” with “money”, and every sentence would sound like those we speak today regarding money.

Now, the only difference I see between this time-based economy and our fiat currency is that the time is created by the individuals’ 1-year after 25 years of age. The movie does not explain this, and such a fixed currency source would probably not account for the amount of time the rich have, which would amount to even more dead people than presented in the movie, or perhaps this implication is deepest point of the film. There are even time banks that charge interest for the time, which make the rich richer, but that there is no creation of time out thin air much like the Federal Reserve as the ability to create, which is what helps our economy grow so much.

Spoiler Alert: this paragraph contains some spoilers. Skip the next two paragraphs.
Contrary to common sense, giving time away is a worse crime than stealing time. The protagonist tries to steal a lot of time from the rich to give the poor, but the rich just respond by raising the cost of living (a totalitarian inflation in the capitalist world). So the efforts of the protagonists fails to make even a small dent in the world system, so they have to steal a massive amount, a million years, which is a metaphor that the rich are so rich that if you slightly raised the 99%’ers’ quality of living, it would not take away from the rich and might actually make them richer due to the extra currency in circulation. So, the protagonists had to set out to steal a million years from the rich that the antagonist keeps in a massive vault. When antagonist is held up at gun point when the protagonists steal his one million years, the antagonist says, paraphrased, “You may create an imbalance for a generation or two, but things will go back to how they were and you won’t change a thing. There will always be someone who wants to live forever.”

To this, the protagonist replied, “No one should be immortal if even one person has to die.” This concept basically states that no one should be overly rich if even a single person is impoverished in our world. The previous statement of “balance” is so ironic that it refers to the imbalance that the antagonist considers to be a “balance”.

The styles in the movie appeals to me. I think the design of the city architecture is relatable, and I enjoyed the futuristic electric cars are in an variation of 1950s style, and even the choice of dual-tone guns to make a point of contrast. It’s almost as if the nostalgia the old looking cars evoke speak to the how the conservatives would ideally want our world to return to the 1950s, but that they are electric states the certain types of progress is inevitable.

The film uses the term “time zones” similarly to how we use them today; however, they symbolize the different social classes in our society. Symbolism regarding individuals traveling between the zones implies the not only the difficulty of individuals trying to move up the class ladder today, but also that their are intentional obstacles to make it even harder than it already theoretically is.

The theme that a few individuals attempt to change a large system, and that at the end of the movie the system still hasn’t changed but the protagonists have makes this a cyberpunk theme sans all of the computers.

This movie would be a great subject for a college English course essay that analyzes every metaphor. I say the movie was heavier on the metaphor than on the development of characters and setting, and I imagine that this is a type of symbolized intended to speak those individuals who already know socio-economic elements and do not need them explained. Individuals with such knowledge simply hear what the writers portrayed.

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