Reason Writers at the Movies: Peter Suderman Reviews In Time


Reason Associate Editor Peter Suderman reviews the new thriller In Time about world in which time is used as currency in today's Washington Times

In his debut film, the minor cult-classic "Gattaca," writer-director Andrew Niccol served up a sci-fi parable about inequality set in a genetically stratified world. With the new "In Time," also about genetically blessed haves and have-nots, Mr. Niccol has essentially made the same movie again—just worse.

"Gattaca" was a thriller premised on a world dominated by preprogrammed genetic gifts, where the children of the affluent are made to order—perfect athletes, musicians, and scientists—and the comparatively weak natural-born are treated like second-class citizens.

"In Time" revolves around a world infused with a different sort of genetic determinism, based not on talent but on time. In this alternate reality, humans have been genetically engineered to live just 25 years.

But there's a catch: They can live longer—while continuing to look 25—if they earn, steal, trade or otherwise acquire additional time. The rich live forever and never grow old, while the poor die young and wanting.

Indeed, time forms the foundation of the world's currency system, with each individual's store of saved-up days and years glowing across their wrist, like a tattooed stopwatch that also serves as a bank account.

Whole thing here

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  1. It’s about Tim somebody other than Loder reviewed films.

    1. It was the best of Tims, it was the worst of Tims.

      1. Tim is money.

        1. There’s an old commercial real estateism that really is true…

          I’d rather have more tim than more money.

          1. I’m so mother fucking sick of being late to the meme parties, I need to find another line of work.

            “IF I COULD TURN BACK TIM!”

            //Jack Mac Farland

            1. I find it interesting that your first post on this meme involves Cher. Very interesting.

              1. So? I have Tim on my side. Yes, I do.

                1. Actually, you seem to have Cher on your side. Tim is on my side.

                  1. Let’s not go to war over this. It’s “In our Tim.”

      2. Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the Tim

    2. I…am an enchanter.

      By what name are you known?

      There are some who call me………Time?

    3. Someone once told me that Tim was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that Tim is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we’ve lived. After all Number One, we’re only mortal.

  2. I thought we discussed In Tim yesterday after Loder’s review. There’s no Tim for this.

    1. The Tim is gone,
      The song is over,
      Thought I’d something more to say.

      1. I wonder when Tim will take the Tim to acknowledge the meme we’ve started with his name. I guess he just doesn’t have a lot of Tim, though.

        1. He busy putting Tim in a bottle. And he wants to spend it with you.

          1. Tim, Tim, Tim, see what’s become of me
            While I looked around
            For my possibilities
            I was so hard to please

  3. “Worse?” I loved Gattica.
    The glowing wrist countdown brings to mind jokes referring to too much time on your hands.

    1. Gattica sucked. What an angsty, whiny movie. I can only assume In Time is the same, and these reviews aren’t challenging that idea.

      1. Gattica blew so much goat schlong, it made the Appalachian hillbillies and fundie islamo-fags green with envy. And the French, too. For good measure.

        Not even Uma (who is highly overrated IMHO) could save such weak, simpering and self-indulgent dialogue.

        1. Projecting again, doc?

          1. Hardly. And where exactly was I wrong?

            As Pinhead said, “TIM…TO PLAY!”

            1. Let us discuss the overratedness of Uma Thurman, about whom I agree completely. I mean, don’t get me wrong–she is attractive–but I remember watching Baron Munchausen and seeing the dudes who will not allow themselves to find “conventional” girls attractive go apeshit over her, and thinking “hmm, you are forcing this”.

              1. I’ll go back even farther: that awful, awful Anthony Michael Hall vehicle Johnny Be Good and then she was plastered all over Rolling Stone like she was the second coming of the Venus De Milo.

                She is just, blech. Does nothing for me, at all.

                1. Well, I think it’s safe to say that there are way, way hotter women in Hollywood that get much less attention than she does, and I’m not sure how she managed to market herself in order to cause that. I’m pretty sure it’s that she somehow managed to be the “alternative” chick, without really doing anything particularly alternative.

                  1. That might explain Winona Ryder better than Uma Thurman.

                    Either way, i think Uma is ok, but there’s just something not right about the lack of symmetry of her headpiece. It’s just…off a bit.

                    1. That might explain Winona Ryder

                      There’s no, and I mean NO logical or irrational explanation for Winona Ryder. She is pure, concentrated, undiluted hack. Her Gothy-I think-or-maybe-I’m-Emo-and-whiny bitch schtick out of which she has eked out the eqivalent of a sympathy fuck career (and I’m quite sure many a blowjob given by her had facilitated this) just worn way too thin.

                      She is a very, very, very poor man’s Helena Bonham Carter.

                    2. Bonham Carter is the poorest man’s poor, doc. Taste fail on a massive scale.

                    3. Bonham Carter is the poorest man’s poor, doc. Taste fail on a massive scale.

                      And where did endorse or suggest I liked HBC? I mere said Ryder was a poor substitute for HBC, who in turn is a poor substitute for good acting, thus really driving home how utterly useless and criminal Ryder “acting” is. But the real shame is me expecting you to keep up with all this nuance. I have no more Tim for you.

                    4. I’ll tell you one thing. Winona Ryder wasn’t dumb enough to do Planet Of The Apes, starring Marky Mark.

                    5. I’ll tell you one thing. Winona Ryder wasn’t dumb enough to do Planet Of The Apes, starring Marky Mark.

                      True. How do explain Mermaids, then? Starring CHER! And no monkey makeup either; she did that colonic bolus naked face.

                    6. She has really big tits.

                  2. My theory on this is not too far from what you posit: she tries to project “exotic and unique” without being exotic and unique, like a faux Euro trash babe, but no Euro. And the name. Uma. Swedish. And she is of the Scandinavian descent, but not overly stereotypical, therefore approachable, unlike other Swedish and Nordic lasses known for projecting and being unapproachable.

                    1. Doesn’t her name come from Tibetan Buddhism?

                      I’ve been a fan since her scenes in Dangerous Liaisons. Lush, very lush. Thought she did well in the various Kill Bills too.

                    2. Ah, GG. So it does! My mistake. Thurman, however, is quite Swedish, and it means literally “Man of Thor.” It’s an Anglicized derivative of Thurmond.

                    3. I just saw Kill Bill Vol. 1 for the first time a few weeks back.

                      I now want that 2 hours of my life back.

                      What a fucking stupid movie.

                    4. If you watch the second one, you’ll get the time back. I pinky-swear!

                    5. the Kill Bill series is great in all ways except for Uma.

        2. Thurman doesn’t do much for me either. Being able to deadpan is good and all, but.
          Actually, I’ll leave that one at “but.” She’s been very successful. Good for her.

      2. This one sounds awful, I agree there.

        I saw Gattica very differently. Our very human hero thumbs his nose at restrictive society and reaches his dream by carefully out-thinking them and working his ass off. Seems very libertarian to me.

        1. The idea was good, no doubt. It’s the execution that we have problems with.

        2. Except that the film is pure class warfare angst. Not very libertarian at all.

          1. They imposed classes. Our hero punctured that on the merits of his athletic and intellectual performance. Pro-individual. Pro-self-reliance. Pro-ability.

            It showed men fulfilling contracts honorably that could never be enforced. It showed the beneficial nature of black markets. They even show the genetic superman exercising his right to dispose of his life as he sees fit.

            Very libertarian.

            1. That’s what was written. The execution, as Colin says, was very different.

              I mean, it’s got Ethan Hawke, for fuck’s sake.

              1. OK… not my favorite actor… but my favorite actor doesn’t strike me as the right type for the over-groomed look of Gattaca. Then again, he shocked me with his take on Jim Gordon.

          2. How class warfare? It was about discrimination and prejudice.

            1. Sure. With an extremely angsty, whiny class-focused execution that made it impossible for me to enjoy the elements that you describe.

              1. It’s the Party of Five of the dystopian future genre.

                1. Or, the spinoff from that show called Tim Of Your Life.

                  And Po5 had JLH and Neve Campbell. One was in a great pool scene. The other grew some amazing tits.

                  1. Fine. It’s analogous to the first season of Melrose Place. Imagine Andrew Shue in the role of Vincent! You thought Ethan “The Falcon and the Snowman was the only decent flick I starred in” Hawke was bad?

                    Yeah, how you like me now?

                    1. You sadistic bastard.

                    2. Don’t worry. Tim heals all wounds.

                    3. Tim wounds all heels, according to Nick Lowe.

                2. When I was married, my dumbass wife watched Party of Five and I fucking hated it. I mean, fucking hated it.

                  Anyway, every time she had it on and Jermy London came onscreen, I’d say, “hey, that’s the guy from Mallrats, right? Anyway, it got so bad ne time, after saying that for the 10th time that night, that she actually punched me in the face. Bitch gave me a black eye.

                  Anyway, i gave my daughter Season 4 of the show and Mallrats for X-mas last year and told her to give it to her mom. The two boxes came back unopened the next time I picked up my kids.

                  1. This wound may require overTim.

      3. I think In Time has an interesting premise.

        It’s like “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” meets Logan’s Run.

        The Malthusian influence is evil, but the premise has an almost libertarian ring to it. You get 25 years to make yourself useful enough to get yourself more time, and if you find a way to make yourself useful enough? You can eventually achieve immortality.

        We’re not gonna waste resources on people who can’t make themselves useful after 25 years…

        I mean, I’m not saying that’s the way it should be (even if it really were a Malthusian world we’re living in), but I imagine that’s what passes for a libertarian straw-man argument among the Malthusian environmentalists and socialists on the left.

        I think that’s the way they really see us. The premise is interesting for that reason alone.

        1. Noted financier of many B thrillers Ken Shultz is also known for embracing non-empirical, pre-Enlightenment ideas.

          1. I didn’t embrace Malthusian ideas.

            I called them evil. I suggested that we are not living in a Malthusian world, and I called their arguments about libertarians a straw-man.

            How is that embracing non-empirical, pre-Enlightenment ideas?

            P.S. Malthus was post-Enlightenment.

            1. The data base ignored your mistaken identification of the tales origins. Greek mythology, not Malthusian.

        2. OK, that’s a different take. I’ll consider watching it on DVD.

        3. Interesting that you would make that connection. Harlan Ellison is suing the makers of the film for copyright infringement.

          1. Just out of curiosity, has he done anything original lately? Or is he just bitching about kids these days ripping him off?

          2. I had no idea, but I should have guessed.

            The sad thing is that–they really should make his stories into movies pretty much as he wrote them.

            I’d love to see a collection of his short stories woven into a single movie. Where they’re all connected in the same world…sort of like Short Cuts did with Raymond Carver.

            I’d start with the characters of “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” wandering through the labyrinth. Move through some of his short stories as if they might be flashbacks but maybe….

            Eh, he’d sue the hell out of me!

            Oh, and when the hell is somebody gonna make a movie of “Vermilion Sands”?


        4. “We’re not gonna waste resources on people who can’t make themselves useful after 25 years…”

          Why? If mean, if they’re conjuring time out of the ether, and there’s no concern about overpopulation, what’s the big deal?

          Besides, it’s pretty likely there’s no market competition for time, it seems to all come from one source, and its scarcity is enforced by violence. It’s like IP, if you took out the justification about “author’s labor” or “free rider principle”; ie, completely indefensible.

          At any rate, everyone seems to directly or indirectly work for the time peddlers, who may as well be the government, making it more of a fascist or neo-feudalist dystopia with faux-capitalist trappings.

    2. Of course when 5th Element was in the theaters a friend complained to the group as we were waiting for it to start that Hollywood was too predictable.
      “You know what the 5th Element is, right?”

    3. I liked Gattaca. I guess it didn’t have enough epic explosions and car chases for Episiarch and the good doctor.

      1. Or you just have shitty taste.

        1. I don’t have Tim for your nonsense today. My Tim, unlike yours, is precious.

          Of course, you are in a different Tim zone, so I must make allowances.

          1. You have to allow for a wrinkle in Tim, Pro’L Dib.

            1. Gattaca! Gattaca! Gattaca!

              **runs back into bank**

          2. Tim is the great equalizer.

            1. All this “Tim” talk has me reaching for the Tums.

        2. No, that would be me.

    4. Christ on a bike, it’s “Gattaca”. I don’t know what kind of alien biochemistry you’re all thinking of that has “I” as a base.

  4. Anybody else getting the banner ad for reason’s Alaska Cruise August 2012, featuring Gillespie, Welch, and Russell?

    This seems odd. If you’re a libertarian committed enough to go on a libertarian cruise, you’re probably pretty well-read in liberty, right? What new ideas are these guys presenting that’s supposed to get me on a boat with a bunch of weirdos?

    Unless it’s actually a sex cruise cleverly marketed to those “in the know.” Matt does look kind of lickable in that pic..

    1. Not me. I’ve got Smokey Bear telling me, “only you can prevent wildfires.”

      Aren’t wildfires, by nature, wild? I mean, forest fires I get, but wildfires? STFU, AdCouncil. Your nannyism is showing, and it don’t look good.

      1. Didn’t it used to be “forest fires”? I wonder why the change.

        1. Mission creep. Next, it will be, “only you can prevent house fires,”. Then, “only you can prevent bottled fart fires.”

          Eventually, it gets to the point where all of the houses are built from fireproof materials and firemen show up to burn the books you’re hiding.

        2. Swamps became wetlands.
          Jungle became rainforest.
          Foreign food became ethnic cuisine.
          Secretary became administrative assistant.
          Girlfriend became unpaid sex worker.

          I wonder about all of them.

  5. The concept, at least, is an interesting one. I think there’s some parallel to ObamaCare.

    You have all these rich limousine liberals pushing government health care, knowing that they’re so wealthy that they themselves will never have to use it. Everyone else will suffer and rot through poor care while nothing will change for them at all.

  6. Andrew Niccol was born on the isle of Lesbos in the year 1100 BC where he acquired the primitive superstitions that serve as the premises of his movies.

    1. Heh heh,

      He said “Lesbos”… heh heh

  7. I liked Gattica. I think Epi hates everything. He is the “Hey, let’s give it to Mikey, he likes everything.” kid. Epi would probably find fault with Michelangelo’s Pieta.

    Oh and Uma Thurman rocked in the Kill Bill movies.

    1. I like many things. Just because I don’t like a shitty movie that you like is no reason to cry about it. I also liked Kill Bill, because I tend to like Tarantino.

      Gattica sucked. Go watch it again and see what you think.

      1. I was three sheets to the wind when I watched it in the theater. I tend to give everything a passing grade, even Warty’s mom, when I’m in that condition.

      2. Gattica should have been nominated for best picture.

      3. I liked Gattica, except for one huge issue — Vincent’s selfishness. In a society that seems to have pretty well cracked the genetic code, I think we can accept the fact that he does have a heart defect. So good for him for living longer than he was supposed to have, and bad on the society for not making better use of his talents/intelligence; but he’s still going to die. Seeing how the flight to Saturn will last a year, I wouldn’t be surprised if his heart chooses this time to go out and he crashes into asteroid.

        Vincent got what he wanted, everyone else dies in the vacuum of space.

        1. Cry me a river. He was pathetic, impotent, and grossly outlived his usefulness. And BITCHED the ENTIRE TIME!

          In fact, he reminds me of your average CMS patient.

        2. I wouldn’t be surprised if his heart chooses this time to go out and he crashes into asteroid.
          Vincent got what he wanted, everyone else dies in the vacuum of space.

          Not to inject realism into a flight of fancy (because I usually reserve that for the gambolings of Dances With Parking Meters), but wouldn’t the microgravity environment be easy on Vincent’s heart, especially compared to lift-off and re-entry?

        3. Hold it…
          except for one huge issue — Vincent’s selfishness.
          I though selfishness was a virtue around here!

        4. The defect was never actually detected. He was just found to be at risk for having a genetic defect.

  8. Joe Haldeman. “Buying Time.” Much, much better.

  9. I’ve got a great inside line on a Tim share in the Poconos.

  10. None of you geeks mentioned The Wheel of Tim?

    1. I’m waiting for the final book to come out before going back to it.

      1. I read the first few about twenty years ago. I just started listening to the audio books a few months back for my commute. By the time I get to the 13th book in a year or so, the last one should be out. It’s a beautiful thing.

  11. A short story in one on my dad’s old Playboy’s (I want to say early 1970s) had the same premise as “In Time.” A guy lives in a world where time is money, and is desperately trying to get more time after going on a bender and wildly over-tipping a call girl. Every time I see the “In Time” trailer, I wonder who holds the copyright to that story.

    (Yes, I read the articles after I was done masturbating.)

    1. Harlan Ellison sued Fox over this movie, so maybe there’s your answer.


      1. Actually, it turns out it was this. Guess it’s not a unique premise.

  12. I think the problem is that often on expects Sci Fi to be about today and our real future.

    Sometimes it is not…sometimes it is about a world that can never really exist and is in essence a fantasy….this is of course different then pure fantasy like Star War.

    Sometimes one should simply enjoy this type for what it is.

    Is it ok to like GATTACA without worrying that such a world is a farce when compared to how genetic modification can and will be used?

  13. I’v watched her film, she is a good actress.

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