In Time or Time For A New Cast?

What would you do if you had only a year left to live? In In Time, directed by Andrew Niccol, the citizens of the Neo-Marxist, capitalist society are living under pressure to survive. The film is purely based on the theory of survival of the fittest, which is portrayed throughout by the cast. Justin Timberlake plays the main protagonist and introduces us to the harsh value of materialism in the society. One of the main ideas in In Time is surplus labour. Surplus labour, by definition "is a concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy." This is used to show the audience that, in this capitalist society, the people who are working are only providing the rich with supplies and wealth, therefore contributing to the never-ending cycle of poverty they are in.  

The main ideas of this film are important for us to understand, however, the way that the director showed ideas like Marxism and the importance of materialism (in Dayton – the run down city filled with despair and a lack of hope and in New Greenwich, which is the wealthy, immaculate city) could have been improved through an upgraded cast. In my opinion Justin Timberlake (Will Salas) and Amanda Seyfried's (Sylvia Weis) roles could have been performed better by an alternate pair of actors. Never the less, the ideas still got across with the help of a lot of language features and film techniques. Vincent Kartheiser (Phillipe Weis) plays the character who steals (in a classy way, of course) to make his profit, and it has worked. Phillipe is probably the richest man in the film, his wealth is a result of materialism in a capitalist society - In this case, between Dayton and New Greenwich. 

As In Time follows Will Salas, the audience learns more about Marxism and how a capitalist society functions, even if it doesn’t function in a humane way. Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried’s characters show the indifference in their society, this made me think about how inequal the world is today. Even with the poor execution of the idea, the perception was still put across. The many film techniques Andrew Niccol used to help his idea get across, for example dialogue, his choice of colours and props, all showed the importance of materialism in their society. Niccol also put thought into comparing Dayton to cities that stand on the opposite ends of the scale. New Greenwich is displayed by harsh white lights and colours such as blues and greens; colours that make our minds think of health and hope.  

I think In Time is significant to the time period we live in today. The movie holds many important ideas that portray materialism, wealth, and a capitalist society. Even though the aesthetic of the film itself is not that incredible, In Time could still be a relevant film to learn from – yet may not be as enjoyed as other films. The film itself was displeasing to watch as I found the plot utterly predictable, but I think that it made the messages of the Marxist theory more understandable to me. In the beginning of the film the importance of materials is shown when Will is surrounded by miserable factory workers. Though the cinematography could really be improved, we still get the idea of contrast in the capitalist society and the importance of producing in order to survive. 

Many questions are posed about Karl Marx's theory, this movie manages to explain it as if the viewer is very young. The film expresses the ideas of Marxism and the significance of materialism through a mediocre cast. Justin Timberlake's substandard role takes the focus away from the messages in the film. Andrew Niccol explained Karl Marx's theory through the simple plot of his sci-fi film. Even though this is definitely not the best film I have ever witnessed, I think Niccol demonstrated inequality in a capitalist society well enough to have got the point across. Although the film did get the basic points of Marxism across, it could have been improved with more engaging actors; then maybe this film wouldn't have had me checking my watch for the time.