Páraic is on holiday. In for him in the “Floyd & Boyd” replace “Kermode & Mayo” mould is Tulsk/Toronto independent film-maker and revered socialite Niall Sheerin. You can view some of his work here.
For a concept that is quite original it’s difficult to understand how they could have made this so generic. The concept – people live until they’re 25 and they trade in time thereafter – becomes one big metaphor for capitalism and its problems, how the rich get rich and the poor get…blahdy blahdy blahdy.
We’ve heard it all before. Andrew Niccol, who wrote The Truman Show, seems to be more preoccupied with the Hollywood Model than creating anything original and so it becomes a story of our hero (Justin Timberlake) on a quest to redistribute wealth. Or in this case, time. That’s basically all the story becomes about and so without the mask of people trading in time rather than money, this film would disintegrate into nothing.
There is a love story in there in the Titanic mould where poor guy goes to rich girl’s world and shows her how much more fun poor is. But again, we’ve seen it all before. There is an unintentionally hilarious scene at the beginning of the movie where Justin Timberlake’s Mum (played by Olivia Wilde) races against time to stay alive but the reason she has no time is because she couldn’t afford the bus. She’s poor because the rich people have brought up the price of the bus and therefore she can’t afford to live. Literally. The movie is full of these kind of on-the-nose scenarios where the subtext is the text.
Timberlake looks like someone who just stepped off the set of a student film. He acts rather than inhabits the (admittedly thin) role. Overacting in one scene and not bothered in the next. Pete Campbell from Mad Men plays Pete Campbell from Mad Men. And Cillian Murphy is way beyond this material.
Watching this you’re reminded of Gattaca and The Truman Show, Niccol’s finest work, where the stories were about something. That’s the problem with this story. It’s just Robin Hood in the future and yet, like his other films, it could have been so much more. Maybe it’s time for Niccol to go back to the drawing board, and write something that comes from the heart, rather than Hollywood.
Andrew Niccol / / Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy / 109 min / Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller / Release: 28 October (US/Canada), 1 November 2011 (UK/IRL)