Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Film Corner!

Below, the trailer for the new Justin Timberlake vehicle, In Time, which, as you will soon discover, is a very clever pun. (No it's not. Clever, I mean. It is definitely a pun.) The writer and director of this movie is Andrew Niccol, who wrote and directed some films I liked very much (Gattaca; The Truman Show) but also came up with the story for The Terminal, that garbage film in which Tom Hanks plays a Latka Gravas who lives at the airport, so it could really go either way.

Anyhoo, IMDb informs me that In Time is about a future in which "people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy themselves more time, but when a young man finds himself with more time than he can imagine he must run from the corrupt police force to save his life." Meanwhile, the trailer informs me it is also about a future in which women retain the timeless choice between dude prop or dude trophy.

Once again, I will observe the bitter hilarity of a mind that can conceive of a concept in which a digital life clock counts down on every person's arm, but can't conceive of a concept in which women, and men of color, aren't marginalized supporting cast for a graduate of the Mickey Mouse Club.

To the trailer!

Text Onscreen: "In the late 21st Century, time has replaced money as the unit of currency." ("Time is money!"—My Dad, telling me to get busy dusting the living room if I want my $2 allowance, 1984.) More Text Onscreen: "At 25 years old, aging stops, and each person is given one more year to live." ("What is this shit?"—My Dad, if and when he sees this trailer, 2011.) More Text Onscreen: "Unless you replenish your clock, you die." I originally read this as "Unless you replenish your COCK," which I'm pretty sure is a concept developed by S. Freud.

Cue the action thriller music. Justin Timberlake's clock is ticking down. He wants more time. He is OUTRAGED that it costs four minutes for a cup of coffee when yesterday it cost three. He doesn't get paid as much time at work as he expected; he met the quota but OH SHIT the quota has gone up since last week.

He and his friend Roseanne Conner's Son-in-Law meet a dude at a bar who has a CENTURY in his clock. Everyone oohs and ahhs at the guy with the huge clock. Some other asshole wants the guy's clock. Justin Timberlake helps the white dude with the huge clock escape the white dude with the smaller clock through the bathroom window. No, I am not making this up.

They go back to the dude with the huge clock's apartment, where he tells Justin Timberlake that he is 105 years old, but he's had enough. He exposits some stuff about how there wouldn't be room for everyone if everyone had a clock as big as his: "How else could there be men with a million years, while most live day-to-day?"

I realize the clock is supposed to be a metaphor for money/power/influence, but the absence of women in this trailer, combined with the fact that the acquisition and exhibition of wealth in a patriarchal system is itself often a metaphorical dick-measuring contest, is severely undermining my appreciation of the profound existential and justice commentary to which I'm supposed to be paying attention, because all I can think is that this film should not have been called In Time but In My Pants.


Justin Timberlake tells the dude with the huge clock that he "sure as hell wouldn't waste it" if he had a huge clock, so, after Justin Timberlake falls asleep, the dude gives his huge clock to him. Justin Timberlake wakes up to find himself with a huge clock, and a message scrawled in the grime on the window of the loft: "Don't waste my time." MORE PUNS PLEASE!

Blah blah blah now people, namely Cillian Murphy, are after Justin Timberlake's huge clock. JT is meanwhile using his new huge clock to get access to fancy limos and dress-up parties in "New Greenwich." I think he sleeps with a call girl, but only realizes it when he sees that there's less time on his huge clock…? He gets introduced to some very clock-rich white dude's mother-in-law, wife, and daughter, who all look the same age and very much alike.

screen shot of three women from In Time trailer

Cillian Murphy shows up to nab JT. It's not clear why, exactly, Cillian Murphy wants to get him, except, I guess, for how we're supposed to infer that the government (or WHOEVER) always wants to crush any threat to their power, but if there are truly white dudes running around with million-year clocks, is a hundred-year clock really that threatening? I'm sure all will become clear IN TIME!

Justin Timberlake punches people and gets his huge clock the heck out of there by taking lookalike daughter played by Amanda Seyfried hostage. She wants to go home, but he won't let her, because she's his insurance policy blah blah blah. This kidnapping is obviously justified because he has a feeling they'll find him guilty whether they can prove it or not. Not only am I convinced, so is she! Cue the running while holding hands and the making out!

Montagery. A collection of random but suuuuuuuuuuuper trite quotes: "If you can buy loyalty, you can buy their trail." "For you to be immortal, many must die." "No one should be immortal, if even one person has to die." "How can you live with yourself watching people die right next to you?" "You don't watch; you close your eyes." "I'm going to make them pay; I'm going to take them for everything they've got."

Ah, okay. This is a treatise on privilege and is, in fact, just a retelling of Robin Hood. JT breaks into a time-bank (lulz) and steals a bunch of time, which he and Amanda Seyfried then hand out to people. "Take the time! It's free!"

More montagery. Evil white dudes with huge clocks say things about time getting into the wrong hands and upsetting the system. To underline that point, we get a scene of a poor black mother turning time over in her hands. Oof your racist symbolism.


"His crime," says someone who cares in voiceover, "wasn't taking time; it was giving it away."

Okay, player.