In Time is a movie starring Justin Timberlake and two actresses whose main contributions to the movie are that they look great and can sprint in 6 inch Jimmy Choos. And I mean fast.
In America, people don’t have the emotional courage to risk seeing a movie they don’t know if they will like, which is why Hollywood loves to do remakes of things (“Oh, I know that story”). They’re not out of ideas, you are. This is also why Hollywood puts the entire story into the trailer:
So you get the point: people live up to 25, and then have to find/earn/steal time. Time becomes a currency in a world where there is no money. Some have a lot, some don’t.
This where it gets confusing.
The movie is a comment on the inequalities that are crushing 99 percent of the people in our society, and the movie really makes a statement that it’s not right, and that in order for that to be dismantled, there’s going to have to have to be a change at the kind of basic core moral level of society.
It’s very serendipitous that this movie’s coming out right now with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy the World as it were. We’ve always split everyone into the classes throughout history, obviously through race and wealth. Andrew is so good at shedding a light on it, at turning a mirror on us by using this other worldly concept.
I know that’s what everyone says the movie is about, but you may want to rethink that.
1. Everyone is named after watches…
Justin Timberlake plays Salas, named after a designer watch; others include Borel, Raymond, Citizen, Ulysse, Weis.
Uh oh. Look at those names. If you had to pick one to name the bad guy– the evil super-rich banking family that lives in Greenwich and controls the world, which one… shouldn’t you pick?
2. All of this has happened before and it will happen again.
Hardly a spoiler: at the end, the poor rise up and defeat their evil-banker overlords. Yay.
The movie is a metaphor for the current inequality, but let’s instead take it literally. In order to have reached this point, the previous financial/global capitalist system– the one we have in place today– had to have already collapsed, yet absolutely nothing changed. Look at the trailer again– it is the exact same world as now. Coffee still costs way too much, people still dress for branding, and the divide between the haves and the have nots is identical… the greatest upheaval we 2011ers can imagine, the destruction of the fiat system (replaced by mercantilism) and we inevitably found a way to duplicate the exact same society and values. #OccupyWallSt should take note: we don’t create the system we want, we get the system we want.
3. The problem, evidently, isn’t that people don’t have money.
In the beginning, Salas is approached by a little girl, “hey, can you spare a minute?” He’s poor but he’s kind: “here, take five.” Why is that scene even there? Because his kindness is, of course, rewarded at the end when she helps him escape from the cops. Note the implicit capitalism in that transaction. Justin may have done it for charity but the audience intuits the mechanism.
But what about lots of “time?” When Salas first gets hold of “centuries,” he gives his friend, who has a wife and infant son and live literally day to day, a decade. What does this guy do? He runs immediately to a bar and drinks himself to death. That same day. “With nine years left on the clock,” his wife laments.
In fact, whenever anyone gets a significant amount of time relative to what they had, they act contrary to their own self interest and completely contrary to the interests of anyone else. They become more selfish, more self absorbed, more chaotic. If time is money and money is freedom, when people get an usually large amount of any of those their head explodes.
That’s not me saying this, it’s in the movie. Salas steals a million years and distributes it to the poor, a year to each person. “A year? What are they going to do with that?” bad guy Weis says. “They get to live another year!” is the reply, at which point we’re supposed to yell, “you tell ‘em!” Global bankers can be so obtuse, don’t they know all life is precious? I mean all human life? After birth? (Ooooohhhhh.)
Bonnie and Robin Hood give out the million years. What does everyone do with their extra year? Save it? Fix their house? Send the kids to private school? No: they quit their jobs and deliberately cause anarchy. Note carefully that this is the response of the masses to getting more money, not less.
“The factories are closing!” announces a TV reporter. What happens to everyone else who didn’t get an extra year and who depends on those factories for work or for the products? They don’t show that. The woman’s baby may get an extra year but he’s still going to need baby formula.
Now the punch line: when Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) meets his alcoholic friend’s wife, and she’s crying and about to tell him that her husband squandered the decade and died of alcohol poisoning, the very first thing she says to him is this: “Oh Will, what did you do?” Get it? Will should have known some people can’t be trusted with a lot of money; she’d no doubt prefer a system where some governing body parcels out the “right” amount of time, and helps them make good decisions with it, and… which was the system bad-guy Weis had set up to begin with.
4. Olivia Wilde isn’t his girlfriend.
If I asked, “what is the inciting event which propels Justin Timberlake to try and take down the global financial system?” the answer would be, “Olivia Wilde dies.”
Wilde and Timberlake are living together in poverty. Women in poverty can’t afford sleeves or second layers.
A series of events, and Olivia dies in his arms, he was unable to save her. Then he meets the new woman, played by Amanda Seyfried, who looks a lot like Olivia Wilde but with shorter hair.
So there’s a parallel between the two women. In the end, Amanda is dying in the exact same way as Olivia was, but this time Justin is able to save her. Following so far? Ok, go back to the inciting event: Olivia Wilde is his mother.
Of course, people stop aging at 25 which is why she is a MILF, but remember this is a movie about one group oppressing another group. What is the point of making Olivia his mother and not a GF? What does that do to the story?
The point is that in order for Justin to change his life, his mom has to die and be replaced by someone else.
The movie thinks it is showing a battle between rich and poor, but the money is completely incidental– it is very obviously a battle between “Gen X” and The Millenials. Amanda’s father is the evil banker; all the cops and the Minutemen (the mob) are over 50; and though the good guys are not all poor (e.g. Amanda’s character) they are all young.
Many have said this is a kind of Logan’s Run for our time, but they don’t know how right they are. In Logan’s Run the “old” were the good guys, who break the social contract and want more time. In this movie the old are the bad guys for the same reason. Given that Logan’s Run was made in 1976, those good guys are now the bad guys of In Time.
In order to have a better society, redistribution of income is less important than the death of everyone over 40.
Again, this isn’t me saying this. It’s in the movie.