In Time stars Justin Timberlake as a good guy from a poor neighborhood. Time really has become money in this high-concept science fiction movie.
Everyone has a green forearm LED tattoo that shows how much time/money you have left. You swipe your arm to board a bus (a bus rides costs an hour or two). You get paid at your job in units of time. Most people live paycheck to paycheck, or timecheck to timecheck. Instead of getting evicted if you run out of money, you get instantly dead if your time balance goes to zero. Everyone checks their arms all the time to see how much time they have left.
People live in different “time zone” neighborhoods based on their average income/time balances, and have to pay with time to get into better neighborhoods. Arm wrestling is the new cockfighting, as wrestlers lock arms and try to drain each others’ time balances.
I loved this movie. Mitt Romney needs to watch this movie. Seriously, it could give him the edge he needs to win the election, to close that empathy gap.
In Time is not a good movie, technically. Everything in it, from plots to sets to hairstyles is a ripped-0ff pastiche of other movies. But it does one thing right: It accurately amplifies the sense of dread that people feel when living paycheck to paycheck.
I’ve been there. I’ve gotten an adrenaline rush hearing a dreadful noise in my crappy used car that I need to work if I’m going to get to work. I’ve gotten up early and swiped coupons out of other peoples’ Sunday papers. I’ve learned all kinds of blue-collar skills I never would have learned except I couldn’t afford to get my oil changed by someone else or to pay an electrician or drywaller.
I’ve never been seriously poor. I’ve lived in poor neighborhoods, in America. Nobody’s seriously poor in America, unless they just sit there and let life kill them. In which case, they’re exactly as bad off as Whitney Houston and what happens to them isn’t about being poor. Nobody dies early just from being poor in America. You have to add your own special sauce.
In Time is a movie made by and starring millionaires about how bad off the poor are and how good we millionaires should feel about ourselves making a movie about how bad off the poor are because of other millionaires who aren’t the right kind of caring millionaires like we are.
The movie’s politics and economics are the purest distillation of Occupy-ism and Obamanism I’ve ever seen. Its solution is to rain down money/time on the poor. Really, they have a soup kitchen scene where everyone gets time instead of soup, and everyone is spontaneously orderly instead of a riot happening. The nobility of the poor and the venality of the (wrong) rich and the nobility of the (correct) rich are unquestioned premises in this movie. Hot rich girls with Fifth Element haircuts trying to get back at daddy by dating hot poor boys are the (correct) rich in this movie.
This is what we’re up against. This movie displays the worldview and the self-image of the Hollywood left and their clients with naked clarity. And it starts out intelligently. I was entranced with the first 20 minutes. After that, it was just cheap fun.
Bottom line, rent this movie. It got 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. I hope that’s what Obama gets in 2012.