Friday, November 11, 2011

In Time (Andrew Niccol, 2011) -- D

Praising In Time would require considerably ignorant joviality, a demeanor so pleased and amused to merely be in the presence of a film, that its searing, painful deficiencies become carelessly subordinated to "ignorance is bliss" securities. Andrew Niccol proves the literalist, absent-minded douchebag his eariler efforts (Gattaca, Simone, and Lord of War) only hinted towards. Regressing to consumerist fetish par excellence (just look at that fucking poster), Niccol engages reactionary "political" filmmaking of the most fickle variety, exploiting real-world economic crisis and amping individualistic savior nonsense into an action concoction whose most compelling dimension is Justin Timberlake's always two-day facial hair, even when he and fembot squeeze Amanda Seyfried have been on the run for days (time-space ceases, latent dysmorphophobia persists). Never clean shaven and not quite growing into a beard, his face remains ever so slightly scruffy, rugged. Perhaps it's the year of the stubble. Ryan Gosling sported a similar no-shave (but always trimmed) look in The Ides of March. Does JT have a little tool in his coat-pocket, using it between shoot-outs to keep everything just so? If such is the case, why would Niccol keep such a detail hidden? Hidden. That's where Amanda Seyfried's dignity remains throughout, trotting along, doting, without agency (JT lets her perform a few times -- mostly on him). JT, metonymically standing in for some displaced, absent, condescended to, forsaken proletariat, Niccol succumbs to every worst instinct, sexualizing his aesthetic, indulging sentimental entropy, then lazily offering a triumph of the individual (class) over systematic disavowal and repression. Few films work this hard to slap viewers on the ass and in the face simultaneously.

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