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Art&CultureReview
An almost too timely satireJustin Timberlake stars in thriller 'In Time,' bolsters burgeoning second career
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승인 2011.11.12  04:53:38
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▲ 20th Century Fox

It is high time that Justin Timberlake receive commendation for a career revival well done. Easily, Mr. Timberlake could have been a has-been, a relic of a musical era graciously gone by, washed away in the fickle sands of the pop culture hourglass. With the new science fiction thriller “In Time,” however, Mr. Timberlake solidifies his long-coming conversion from a heartthrob crooner into a capable leading man.

What began as dabbling in acting at the turn of the millennium has become the true calling of Mr. Timberlake. Over the last three years his profile has risen immensely, but it was not until his supporting role as the manic ex-CEO Sean Parker in “The Social Network” that the former Mouseketeer’s forays deserved to be taken seriously. Now, the talented Mr. Timberlake hardly spends a moment off the set, starring in “Bad Teacher,” “Friends with Benefits,” and “In Time” in 2011 alone.

Equally well-cast in a romantic comedy like “Friends with Benefits” and dystopian vision like “In Time,” Mr. Timberlake represents the wildest wet-dream of a Hollywood producer. That said, director Andrew Niccol (known for his work on “Lord of War,” “The Truman Show,” and the sci-fi classic “Gattaca”) does not coddle his suave and svelte star. Instead, Mr. Timberlake carries the plot and the action of “In Time” with his understated style, bringing the right pinch of je ne sais quoi to what otherwise would be a mildly diverting flick at best.

In a near and predictably gritty future, Will Salas, the protagonist played by Mr. Timberlake, lives hour to hour. The human race has been genetically reengineered to desist from physically aging at the age of 25, though this by no means guarantees youthful immortality for the masses, as time has become currency. Upon reaching 25, each citizen is allowed only one more year of life, unless they have the resources to purchase the years or days or hours to extend their lives, resources that the ghetto-born Salas lacks.

Suffice to say, the unenviable world order of “In Time” leaves Salas with few options save de facto slavery in the factories of his favela. When a suicidal man, however, bequeaths what appears a fortune of time (over a century of living) to Salas, his existence is upended. Salas, now no longer bound to the slums, sets off for the districts of the wealthy to enact revenge on the system that tragically cut short the life of his mother. He encounters a fantastic supporting cast of temporal fat-cats and their cronies, including Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”) and Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight,” “Red Eye”), and even recruits the daughter, played by his co-star Amanda Seyfried, of a scion to bring down this fraught financial system.

“In Time” spends a little over a hundred minutes stumbling along the fine line between perceptive allegory and politically-relevant (read: motivated) pulp. While it starts out with the promise of living up to Mr. Niccol’s other great screenplays, “Gattaca” and “The Truman Show,” the Bonne and Clyde-esque latter half of the film descends into cliches that would have the Occupy Wall Street crowds cheering.

All this said, it is impossible not to recommend “In Time,” due to the in triguing performance put forth by Mr. Timberlake. What makes Mr. Timberlake a fascinating actor to watch are his imperfections, his rough edges. For a young man that came to fame from the glitzy, polished land of boy bands, he appears unabashed to reveal his unfinished angles in his films of late. As an actor, Justin Timberlake is a work in progress and it is the satisfaction of watching his process, his evolution, that makes “In Time” worth the expenditure.



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