Sci-fi thriller from New Zealand director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) set in the future when people can live forever, if they can afford it. Stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
When Andrew Niccol’s involved in a film there’s often some far-out concept involved. His feature film career kicked off with Gattaca and The Truman Show but then he had to tone things down a little bit after the disastrous S1m0ne. In Time marks his return to sci-fi tinged filmmaking after Lord Of War and, sadly, he would have been better off keeping these muddled ideas away from the big screen.
In Time’s premise seems simple (time is currency; you earn and spend it; you die when you’re broke) but the problem is how to depict a reality in which this takes place. There’s a lot of world building involved in sustaining a feature-length experience and here things hover somewhere between muddled and hokey. How do you exchange time, for instance? There’s an EFTPOS-like scanner on buses and for getting paid, but if your mum wants to lend you time for lunch or some bad-asses want to steal your time then there’s a wrist-gripping handshake involved that never seems anything less than outright silly.
This is just one example of things not being thought through in a way that will work on screen. It’s impossible to suspend disbelief and Niccol fails to immerse us in his big idea. I haven’t mentioned the actors as there’s not much point – they’re fine, you just can’t buy into anything they’re saying. Timberlake’s charisma can’t carry this but it's hard to think of anyone who could.