Film (2011). Regency Enterprises presents a New Regency/Strike Entertainment production. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Cast includes Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, Vincent Kartheiser, Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake and Olivia Wilde. 109 minutes. Colour.
In a future where humans are Genetically Engineered to stop ageing at 25 but must purchase additional lifespan thereafter, vast inequalities exist between the centuries-rich elite and the ghetto poor who live from day to day. A factory worker (Timberlake) is rewarded with a century by a depressive centenarian (Bomer), and vows revenge for his mother's untimely death; he abducts a plutocrat's daughter (Seyfried), and they go on a Bonnie-and-Clyde timebank-robbery spree through a thinly disguised Los Angeles (see California) to take down the system.
Logic is not a favoured suit of this curiously formed fable, in which time is literally money and economic inequality is coded as monstrous imbalances in lifespan. Niccol has long sought to reconcile idea-driven social Satire with Hollywood narrative imperatives, and this most ambitious attempt to date modulates strangely from an initially resonant and hard-hitting, if technically preposterous, allegorical critique of free-market capitalism for the age of austerity into a high-spirited action romp in which every single character is 25 and good-looking. The film was briefly the target of legal action from Harlan Ellison, noting similarities to his "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman!" (December 1965 Galaxy); as it turned out, the film flopped anyway. [NL]
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