‘In Time’ movie’s unanswered questions

Ausama Anwar

By Ausama Anwar:

Post-Apocalyptic and Science-Fiction movies have always been my favorite, especially so that I can get ideas to write about and discuss, and also criticize a few of them.

I’ve watched many movies where I know the genre and the plot basics. I can’t judge a movie for not having a real story, when the movie’s genre is fantasy. I also can’t judge a movie for being too ‘scary’ when it says it is horror genre. But, among all those types of movies, I still notice if the plot and script is ‘irrational’. I encountered this with ‘In Time’, which a friend told me about, and somehow I couldn’t wait to watch it. The general idea and production is impressive, but when it comes to the plot and the questions that generates, it gets confusing.

‘In Time’ is about an era in which people are genetically engineered to be born with digital clocks on their hands. When someone reaches the age of 25, he/she stops aging, and his/her clock starts counting down, and whenever it gets to zero, that person dies instantly. (What a Darwinist system!) Time on these clocks has become the universal currency and the country is divided into ‘time zones’ based on the wealth of the population. Whoever is wealthiest, lives the longest (survival for the fittest!) Up to this point, everything seems ok, but I have a problem with the lack of any explanation of the origins of this system.  In the absence of the director, let’s just guess and see what’s wrong with the guesses.

Let’s say the digital clock was there before anyone can remember: in the movie it tells us that many people have lived for decades, and when we read the script, it says the movie is set in year 2169. If we’d had this digital clock from a time we can’t remember, how we could survive all that time? If the system, managed by the government, is the same system from all those years ago, why wasn’t there any development of it? If the digital clock is meant to be born with us, how we could get all the technology to acquire more time?

All we see in the movie is that people die easily and can’t do anything about it – especially when there are gangsters who can kill and get free time easily, while most people must work and get tired. If the system was established many years ago by a government, how come there has been no organized resistance to it? If some can live easily while others must die in their son’s arms, why hasn’t there been any movement against this injustice? Even when the hero (Will Salas, played by Justin Timberlake) becomes an outlaw against the system, why doesn’t anyone join him? And, lastly, if life is that precious and people get killed for it, why are the time-keepers (those who keep the city safe from the people stealing time) just a few men? If they are strong enough to keep the city safe why, after the death of their leader, do they all quit working?

Human nature can’t stand for other people to tell one what to do and what not to do. It reminds me of an Albert Camus quote: “The only way to deal with the unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”.

These questions represent nothing but rational thinking about the movie and most of them surely can’t be answered, which I think it comes back to the weakness of the plot. Yes, the movie was great! But we still must criticize what we see as ‘irrational’.

Ausama Anwar was born in 1994, in the capital of the Kurdistan region, Hawler. He is a writer and author of two books published in Kurdish. ‘A Gate to the Intellectual’ is dedicated to youth generally with an intellectual background. ‘Hidden Idea: Some Samples from Movies’ is a work of creative movie analysis. Ausama is also a journalist at ‘Yakgrtw’ newspaper, and leader of a society youth group called ‘Zamwa’. 

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

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