Tag Archive | dystopian

In Time Movie Review

in-timeSo last night I watched the coolest movie.

My friend mentioned it in conversation a few days ago and, no one else ever having heard of it, we were all eager to watch it. This naturally called for a girl’s movie night. And Moe’s.

What it’s about:

It’s like something straight off of Tumblr. Like, I think I’ve actually seen a post before with a screenshot from this movie, only no one knew that it was the movie and made up stories to go with it instead.

Anyway, the plot: There’s a guy named Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who’s really poor. He lives in the ghetto and must work and mind his own business just to survive. That is, until he gives aid to a man who is being targeted for his wealth.

After a dramatic turn of events, Salas finds that he himself is in that man’s position and is being hunted as a fugitive. He is accused of theft and kidnapping and murder and worse: helping the poor.

Oh, and I left out one tiny detail: the society’s currency is time.

The amount of time that people have is depicted on a glowing green clock located on their arms. This time is not only how much “money” they have – it’s also their time to live. Run out of time, and you die.

These clocks start counting down when people turn twenty-five. They stop aging, but survival becomes everyone’s primary goal. This is even true for those who are rich – it is easy to steal time. It’s transferred from person to person by holding wrists; all someone would have to do to rob you would be to point a gun at you.

And boy are there a lot of guns in this movie. Because Will Salas? Yeah. He’s basically a dystopian Robin Hood.

IN TIMEWhat I thought:

Holy dear goodness did this movie get me hype. I still can’t believe I had never heard of it. Then again, the fact that it’s sort-of underground might have made it even cooler.

The best thing about this movie was, undeniably, the concept. Time is literally money. (There were so many pun opportunities. My friends almost killed me.)

It was full of action and was generally fast-paced. I say generally because there were some pretty pronounced lulls. There were too many scenes with empty landscapes where nothing happened, too many scenes of them running from a threat that didn’t even seem to be pursuing them, too many shallow heart-to-hearts.

If the heart-to-hearts were shallow, though, it is because the plot itself was a bit iffy as well. Not the main one (that one was clear: Justin Timberlake Robin Hood and Love Interest steal time from rich to give to poor). But the backstory, the context: Where is everything taking place? Is it America? How was the system even implemented? Who, other the timekeepers, is running things? Why are there only two social classes (everyone is either really-poor-about-to-die-and-must-work-to-survive or is-so-rich-that-they-need-bodyguards-so-as-not-to-get-robbed-and-or-killed)? What happened to Salas’s dad (this is hinted at but never explicitly explained…it felt like the director knew he needed a backstory but didn’t deliver)?

Granted, this is a movie, not a book, which would have done a much better job at world building. But in an almost two-hour time frame I felt like they could have made some things less perplexing.

in time 2This was nowhere near as offensive, but the acting was uncomfortable at times as well. Or maybe I just had a problem with Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried). They tried to make her character a badass, they really did – and they almost succeeded. And I’m not sure if her running around in six inch heels for the entire film was empowering or demeaning. Either way, it kind of made me want to kill her.

Everything that is wrong in this movie pales, however, when you’re actually watching it. It’s so interesting, so unrealistic, so dystopian, so scary, and so cool. It’s something that I wish I had thought of first. The problems I found are basically me being nitpicky; it’s a good movie. Seriously, go watch it right now.

8/10 stars

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

FullSizeRender (5)Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is the most well-written and thought-provoking dystopian novel that I have ever read.

It chronicles the collapse of the modern day world due to a mysterious and deadly flu virus. Before, there was Arthur Leander, an actor like many others: he made it big, is plagued by popularity, and suffers a cruel hand dealt by fate. After, there is a world-hardened Kirsten Raymonde, who remembers very little from before – except for the aforementioned actor, whom she collects articles about in order to preserve pieces of both her past and that of the world she has lost.

Station Eleven has many shifts in both time and tense. The story jumps from the past (before, during, and after the flu outbreak and the end of the world), to the present (exactly twenty years after the pandemic). It also follows many different characters as they go (or went) about their lives. In the beginning, these stories seem disjointed. Characters and symbols seem to come and go arbitrarily. However, eventually everything ties together in a brilliant, unexpected, and even beautiful way.

This book was also written well in that the language and descriptions used were so astounding and  lovely in and of themselves. I could clearly picture everything that the characters saw and feel all of the emotions they felt. Sometimes the story jumped to their stream of consciousness, and a character would relay everything that they saw and felt, down to the silhouette of an ant on a tent. I appreciated these details, and admired how well everything was explained and thought out.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially those who are fans of dystopian novels, or books such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Station Eleven is full of poetic language, interesting insights about life and the world in which we live.

5/5 stars