Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justin Timberlake & Andrew Niccol's Homage to Bond, Just "In Time"

I'm usually two years behind most first-run movies, and so I just saw Andrew Niccol's 2011 In Time, starring Justin Timberlake & Amanda Seyfried, pretty much, on time.

The philosophical premise of "time" as an absolute commodity is interesting, but for me, not the point. The film is a delightful pop culture bauble, written by someone who demonstrates a true fan's knowledge and love of echoes and quotes that resonate with inside references to pop culture movies and TV.

I'm not talking about the similarity of the premise to Logan's Run and more than a bunch of other sci fi stories, which many people have pointed out. I mean other elements of the film that have been overlooked.

The Homage to Quantum of Solace
The most endearing is the homage to Quantum of Solace (2008). (Not so surprising, since Betsy Sharkey in the LA Times wrote, "In Time was supposed to turn Timberlake into a superhero . . . ")

•Timberlake's character's last name is "Salas" which is the American phonetic pronounciation of "solace." I thought he was saying "solace" until I saw the character name in IMDB.

•At the Greenwhich party, Timberlake gets to say "Salas. Will Salas." at the poker table.

•The silver Astin Martin-like car.

•Fleeing the Greenwich party with true Bonded choreography.

•The visual quote of Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko in evening dress walking through the desert to escape the bad guys (which is itself an Antonioni visual), mirrored by Timberlake's tuxedo and Seyfried's black dress. The kids are running, where the adults are walking, but age has its privileges.  I also love the detail that Amanda never takes off those enormous heels, whereas Olga is carrying hers.

Beyond the Bond homage there is:

•The panoply of TV established actors: Thirteen (House), Pete Campbell (Mad Men), Neal Caffrey (White Collar), and Leonard Hofstadtler (The Big Bang Theory).

•Salas has the line, "I'd say 'Your money or your life' but your money is your life."

OMG. Who quotes Jack Benny now, ever? It didn't even make IMDB's quotes list for the film, but it's a line that had resonance for most of the second half of the last century. Wiki has the history of the line.

•The whole, "Is she my wife, my mother, my daughter?" from Pete Campbell echoes Chinatown 

Mr. Niccols, the New Zealand native who brought us The Truman Story in a another decade, wrote the script as well as directed. I like how he thinks.