Thoughts On: In Time - Blind Morality


In Time - Blind Morality

Thoughts On: In Time

Sigh... In the future time is currency because humans have been genetically modified to never age past 25, blah, b-blah, b-blah. This is going to be a long one...

This film sucks. It is a scar on the face of science fiction. I'm embarrassed to call myself a fan. What I see it as is Bonnie and Clyde meets The Matrix. It obviously has the dynamic of the bad girl meets the bad boy with some Robin Hood pretensions, but the Bonnie and Clyde influences on this film are painful. First of all, Bonnie and Clyde sucks. I don't care how violent it was, how it changed cinema or how you have to look at film in context. Here's a few things you don't have to look at in context: direction, acting, writing. Yes, context contributes to these ideas, it may even support and deepen a film. But bad acting will forever be bad acting, just as the writing and the directing of actors. The opposite reason is why classics exist. Great will always be great. I'm not going to explain such an idea as I respect that it's obvious. But my point is the crap character work and acting in Bonnie and Clyde directly translates to this film. It made me want to puke. When a couple has such a deep and personal power relationship in these types of films an audience is alienated. They are pushed away and made to watch two, excuse my French, but, assholes. Everything they say and do feels like fingers scratching at your oesophagus without having a gag reflex. There's just no way to spit back in their faces. This is the idea of your friend going out with that awful person that you hate that is changing them. That kind of GGGRRRR feeling you get every time you have to be in their presence. In short, if your not included in a power circle you hate it. AND THIS IS THE IDEA OF THE FILM. The film merely demonstrates a very funny paradigm of perceived control. The people in control are always the pricks. Your best friend could be come your boss and you will eventually hate them. To put the under dog at the top, like this film does, only takes the hatred it wants to conjure for the corrupt system and attributes it to them.

To jump back a little, the Matrix aspects of this movie are found in the fashion design, which is ridiculous. Long coats, leathers and blacks just scream non-conformist. But the whole idea of non-conformist is of course a negative feedback loop. No one wants to conform. The only way to beat the paradox is not to care, and fashion is too much of a statement for you not to seem like your trying too hard. Off-point, but it does add to the pretentious tone of the movie. Of course the fashion also links to all the old Noirs and the detective, mystery genre in general, but whatever. The other aspects of the Matrix in this film come with its avocations of change. Morpheus' speeches about saviours and control and destiny aren't the strongest part of the film because of how preachy they are. Preaching sucks. People do it all the time. I'm doing it now. But in the Matrix it's fine. Absolutely fine. I've no qualms with it because it's necessary and understandable. Machines take over the world, the simple response is to to take it back. The politics of the Matrix are completely sound and entirely align with sense and some kind of reality. The politics of this film do not. Not at all. Of course there are people who think in terms of complete equality and fairness and anti-capitalism. That's how the film was written. But the application of these ideals to a world we're suppose to attribute reality to is absurd. I could easily go into the minutia of the film's lack of verisimilitude and pick it apart, but there's little point. I'm not that interested in this film. The plot holes gape... like... you'd have to be an idiot not to see them. There are just so many unexplained things and the end is so ridiculous. I'm not sure and I don't care enough to Google this, but I think there is an extended edition in which the system of time exchange and so on is explained and a huge bulk of the third act isn't simply edited away. The film's science fiction concepts cannot be delved deep into because of this - it's just so shallow.

There's no way to understand how this society operates, how they made the switch to time or even the legalities of anything. I appreciate that there is no huge back story and we're not told when the film is set. I personally think setting a sci-fi story in a specific time and place is a mistake - and pointless. This is completely shattered though with how much the film wants you to think its ideas are cool and interesting. In the first 10 minuets there must be over 3 dozen references to the fact that they have time on their arms and its currency and so on, but with no explanations. You should either go along with the narrative as the characters would, not acknowledging the everyday things no one does on such a regular basis, or just explain. No matter how poor you are, the word money does not come out of your mouth every half second. It's impossible. But the film takes the idea of being poor and exaggerates it to the point of condescension. The film doesn't want to tone down though, for one simple reason, it's not worried about verisimilitude, it merely wants us to fill in the gaps with our lives and our gripes that are so easily blown out of proportion. The film obviously comments on our monetary and class system. DUH! Why it shoves it in our faces SOOO HARD I don't understand. The only things you ever hear about in this film are the plot and time. Now this is something people love to tell others to do, it's considered a sensibility in screenwriting. It's the whole idea of Back To The Future in which each detail of the script serves the story. I believe when you have such a fun (in the case of Back To The Future) or interesting (Inception or Matrix) concept or narrative, only using dialogue to push things forward, explain and detail can work. But, take a look at Pulp Fiction, The Before Trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) Clerks. These films ramble and they chat. I love that. Rhyme. Pulp Fiction has quite a juicy plot, but where would it be without Tarantino's dialogue. Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke literally talk (shout, sing, dance, walk, play guitar) at us for around 5 hours. And in my opinion the Before Trilogy is a masterpiece, it's what made me start writing. Look at Clerks, not a great film, but damn that's dialogue. Not delivered to the highest of qualities, but damn. Yes, Inception and Matrix are more cinematic than Before... and Clerks, but what would I rather watch? Well, Before... and Inception. I'm not going to lie for my point. But, the fact that Before... even works as a film (which I would take over any film mentioned thus far) proves that chat isn't bad. Chat is character. Chat is philosophy. Chat can be thematic, idea driven, artful. Not key aspects of blockbusters, but definitely still present in practically all the worthwhile ones - this is what Nolan proves.

The tangent we've just rode has got us some place grey, but my over arching point is that explaining the film and confining all dialogue to plot can be wrong. Dialogue is for characters in situations. Bad dialogue is often contrived and out of place - unrealistic. This is a continuous aspect of In Time (yes, we're still talking about that). Now, the acting isn't bad, line delivery is quite good, but if all the characters can ever talk about is your plot and concept when it's not necessary, your dialogue becomes repetitive and boring. If you counted how many meaningless quips are made about time and how its spent and its affect on class you'd end up at least near 100. I honestly blame the script for this film's major issues. You can only point to the bottom here.

I may be blowing the idea of un-streamlining dialogue out of proportion though, of course it's all about what the script needs, but the excess of moral aphorisms hurts. I dare say this film needed to be longer, or the plot simplified. There either need to be more depth to balance the surface ideas or a lower budget, smaller character based story. I would have loved to see a version of this film where the Bonnie and Clyde aspects are thrown out the window, where there is no uprising. I would have loved to live in their society and have something like Bicycle Thieves... oh... oh... I'm giving myself the shivers at the idea of that. That is not a joke, and I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but how good is Bicycle Thieves? It perfectly demonstrates the cyclic and suppressive plotting of lives as forced by class. I mean, the first time I saw that ending, I just stared at the screen for at least 10 minutes after the credits ran. It's so poignant and so simple and just irrevocable. Perfect. The first act of the film should have been its whole narrative. I really liked the mum, I like the idea of her being 50, but looking 25. I HATED the way they dealt with that fact, but the concept was quite cool. If her death was the end of the film... mmm... beautiful filmmaking. I don't care about spoilers to this film by the way. Don't watch it. If you are it's transparent anyway. The direction around that scene was so poor as well. No tension, no pain, no emotion. Nothing. No empathy from me and I liked the character. All I can say is Rome, Open City. If you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about and FUCK THE NAZIS!!!!!! I genuinely apologize for that, but I leave it in to demonstrate how effective tragedy can be. Thank the forces that be for Rossellini. And thank Rossellini for Rome, Open City. Thinking about such a film only depresses me further as I return to this garbage though.

The worst thing about this film is that the morals completely quash sense in a way that makes its contrivances and plot holes bearable - which is just sad. This is one of the reasons Mad Max: Fury Road was pretty crap. The ideals are stupid. The point of Mad Max was to let the women be in charge and just to waste ALL THE WATER and KILL EVERYONE. Idiots want freedom. That and I didn't appreciate the style of the film, the dialogue (GOD AWFUL! - delivery and in writing) and Furiosa (how stupid can a name get?). The film wasn't bad, but the downfalls really made me dislike it. Anyway, the whole blind ideals in In Time come from an idea of perfect communism. Everyone being treated equally. Yes, that sounds nice, but it can't work in our society or theirs. I know little about the subject, but I think it's clear there is no feasible way to have pure capitalism or pure communism, just like pure chaos and pure peace aren't achievable. Yes, films are wish fulfilment, but political films should only be made by smart people. That which the writer is not, or at least cannot demonstrate them self to be. Politics should be fuelled by fact, never opinion. I don't care what your beliefs are, law should be a science in my opinion. Politicians should be out and out scientist. I know such a thing as political science exists, but the state of politics around the world does not demonstrate this. This is why democracies suck. The crowd is the stupidest person of all. They shouldn't be allowed to make any decisions, especially for themselves. In the same way we shouldn't all get a vote on the constant of gravity or light, we shouldn't be able to dictate the best way to run a country. Experiments should inform political scientists and the best results be implemented. Why isn't this how our society works?! I don't know what the governmental budget is or understand its myriad of facets. I don't have the slightest picture of governmental relationships between the west and east. The truth is, almost all of us don't, or don't have the scientific, precise and ideal free perspective. Professionals should handle countries. To be honest, they kinda do. It's called the top 1%. Some of the smartest people in the world. What is smart? In an evolutionary sense it's what keeps you at the top - and it can be inherited. Why we are raised to think our opinions should change the world is strange. Yes, we should all have our own perspective and see the world the way we will, but to have that implemented is probably a mistake. I know I'm talking out of my ass. I don't want to rule the world. The truth is we all assume we could (says the bullshit negative feedback loop in my head).

Why am I rambling about this? Because the film doesn't. The film lets Justin Timberlake mould the world, just because he's the under dog. He's basically a superhero! he fights cops off like nothing, drives like an F1 champion on his first try and is able to get away with robbing 6 banks in 1 week with some ditzy millionaire’s daughter. This is nonsense! The film just wants us to believe we can do these things. And it's not like in Rocky were he has to fight, bleed, suffer for a draw, to go the distance. Rocky maybe shouldn't have won, but the argument is up for dispute! If trained police officers knocked on your door right now, could you escape them? No! Could you out-run them for weeks on end, killing, robbing, having kidnapped a millionaire's daughter!!! NO! And the car crash! OH MY GOD! This film is too stupid. But these aren't the issues. It's the idea that the everyday man is doing this. that we are taking over the world and making a difference. LIES! Where is our humility? We aren't supposed to be equal. A simple fact of life. The film makes this obvious, but then decides it's allowed to take a shit on Darwin because... feelings.

All in all, the film is blindly moral, too optimistic and just plain stupid. If you like it, you've been played and you too are an idiot. Now, despite my saying this film is stupid, I don't mean that films can't be moral, that they have to be scientific. Of course you can make a political film with ideals and not science. Just think it through. Don't go into a political script with a set goal of proving a point. You'll only look like an ass. Take a leaf out of A Clockwork Orange, reveal, never implore. Clockwork Orange demonstrates that Alex should not be changed. When you try to contort a character, you only bend him to your ideals. The film makes this obvious, it never explains it to us. In Time is no better than the politicians, journalists, doctors and so on changing Alex for there own benefit. In Time doesn't reveal the corruption of our monetary system, but creates it and then fabricates a pathetic solution - destroy it. I stand by the idea that it should have been Bicycle Thieves. If a film is going to be derivative, do it with class. If a film is going to have morals, have them be poignant and with no need for explanation.

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