I saw In Time last night and quite liked it. It was reminiscent of Equilibrium and Surrogates in the best ways possible. Justin didn’t even do half bad playing a more serious role, which I was afraid of.
The movie itself is a really interesting concept and I could talk a long time of the ramifications brought to light in their world, but I’d prefer to talk about their world first.
There doesn’t seem to be any real defining mark of the time period. It’s more alternate reality, slightly stylized. The cars are late 60′s-70′s but debadged and really minimal. There aren’t any door handles and they seem to open by remote with a faint hiss. The police cars are matte black with heavy metal louvres and fat tires with solid black rims. They all seem like a modified 1971 Dodge Challenger RT and make up most of the force, complimented by a heavy truck like a 2nd Gen Ford Bronco or something.
The rich have boat-length taxis, looking like modified 1964 Lincoln Continentals with the same really clean minimalism and a heavy layer of gloss. The car they steal is from this lineup but slightly different, and as a reader pointed out, look to be the ’65 generation of the same line.
I wish I could find more photos, proper photos, but they seem pretty obscure since the movie just came out. The above was captured from the trailer which is less than ideal.
Anyway, I really appreciated that they didn’t go for a super futurism as much as a realistic portrayal of an alternate reality. It has it’s own, unique style that doesn’t try to be anything it’s not.
EDIT: 14/12/11 a reader who chose to be anonymous pointed out more specific models than I originally guessed – the names and dates above have been changed accordingly. Big thanks to our readers out there!
It’s interesting the differences in the hologram aspects between this style, which is very glassy and ornamental to, say, Tony Stark’s very American glowing wireframe / blinky lights / useless numbers floating around. Is it a cultural difference or simply the style the movie makers have chosen? Is it an inherently foreign thing that they, on average, prefer? This is where my constantly curious designer mind goes to play, asking questions far beyond the simple and obvious, working into the meta of real world culture leading to visual outcomes (if at all).
Moral of the story: two things. 1. Really cool art, and probably a good movie that I’ll have to catch with subtitles sometime and 2. As a designer, always question the why of things. Sometimes the how, but mostly the why.
I saw the trailer a when it made news a while back and the full movie just appeared on Canadian Netflix, and at a friend’s high recommendation I gave it a go.
It’s so utterly insane as to be normal again. The opening of the movie is a quasi-fourth wall breaking monologue about suspending disbelief for the sake of entertainment and it sets the mood for the movie. It’s silly on the surface, but it has glimpses of deeper questions about story and role, and so becomes much more satisfying than straight-up slapstick comedy. They do come right out and say it: the movie was made for fun and should be treated as such.
And on that account, they succeeded. It is fun. It is occasionally violent and it is often hilarious. It makes very little sense and there’s bits of meta reference in there that are left unexplained entirely. This bothers me as a plot completionist, but not enough to ruin the sheer joy the movie itself is.
My only complaint – and I’ll try to keep this spoiler free as possible – is the ending is a few scenes too long. I like the metaphorical rallying of the troops but the intent would have been stronger if they just cut it off there and rolled credits, Inception style. They took the travelling thing a bit far. We got the idea, there wasn’t any need to continue explaining.
The cinematography was really well done and I’m still not sure what the budget for the thing was, because it could have been really low given how simple everything was. If so: awesome work. You’ve made a work of brilliance from nothing. Even if it was a higher budget indie film, it deserves kudos for technical execution. It certainly doesn’t feel indie, other than the way-off-mainstream plot topic.
There’s been a conversation on Twitter between Trojan Kitten and myself about humans / media only sympathizing with humanoid things, even if they’re robots or aliens and if I could offer a good counter example I would say they do a remarkable job giving a round piece of rubber attitude. Perhaps not empathetically, like our discussion, but it’s a very good personification of something with very few human features (and, very few ways of doing anything, really. It can roll two directions and tip a bit; that’s all).
It’s a fairly broad topic to cover, so rapid-fire, some thoughts:
I’m not sure if it was just my copy or if it’s intentional, but the movie is about two Danish film makers and so less than half of it is in English, with no subtitles. It’s easy enough to follow along if you’ve read the Wikipedia article first, but I wonder if I’ve missed out on some important points. EDIT: The DVD does have subtitles, and it seems I missed some things, so please accept the following but realize it’s possibly entirely wrong.
It’s incredibly boring, but I mean that in the best possible way. This is a fascinating movie, but it is not an entertaining one. It’s not really a documentary, but in a way it is a film about documentation.
Mitch commented that it’s his favorite design movie, even though it has nothing to do with design, and I’d have to agree: this is art with restrictions, limitations just as design is. I come from a more physical design background than he does, so I’m guessing I approach things slightly differently, but the idea remains. Engineers have physical limitations. Artists have psychological limitations (though a lot forget / ignore those). Designers have both. We make things that are limited by both worlds which is the challenge that I enjoy and loathe simultaneously. It sometimes makes things impossibly broad or entirely too narrow.
It’s a film about process. Which isn’t glamorous and rarely seen but is the important part and sadly (proudly?), the area where we spend the most time. It’s about overcoming limitations through creative methods.
The locations themselves are broad and eye-opening. The photo above is the version where he’s enjoying decadence in the middle of probably one of the poorest locations on earth. The film holds no punches and depicts life as it is, both in the films themselves and the movie about filming the films. It’s very real.
I want to comment on every little thing, but I’ll try and refrain.
The contrasts are masterfully done. There’s warmth and hope and cold decay. The Perfect Man is depicted as both this ideal and this scum – sometimes simultaneously. He is a man of many faces and many personalities, always shifting and renewing themselves, yet somehow familiar. Like episode stories within an overarching storyline.
I couldn’t quite figure out the Perfect Woman. She seemed purposefully elusive more than anything. Is that what a perfect woman, in fact, is?
I think it’s healthy as designers to limit ourselves in order to make other parts of us stronger. Like blind people have heightened touch and / or hearing, we who see sometimes downplay our other senses just as we designers sometimes forget about certain abilities. And it’s difficult to keep everything equal when the work doesn’t demand it, I’ll be the first to admit, but it can be extremely satisfying to re-learn something you thought you knew but lost. Like athletes who run with weights on their ankles, when we grow in that and then unshackle ourselves, we experience this fantastic ability.
So the moral of the story, of this movie, is to grow through and thrive within opposition. To make something glorious as an outcome despite constraints – if placed on us by others or ourselves as practice.
Fantastic movie for the fantasy action / kung fu lover. It’s one of those turn-your-brain-off things; it’s obviously designed to be entirely unrealistic for the sake of entertainment, and on that it delivers.
I don’t want to say too much, but really, it’s just a good romp and I loved it. Scope the trailer:
The intro credits are some of the best I’ve ever seen and definitely worthy of an Art of the Title mention. EDIT: Watch the intro sequence here. The city and area in which it takes place is a like a popup book, and everything is very geometric and simple, but works with the overall feel. I appreciate that the heroes are somewhat reluctant, as if they truly are just two men trying to make their way in the world and this adventure was thrust upon them whether they liked it or not. They make for very human protagonists, which is somewhat refreshing given the usual fare of soulless action heroes (both in acting and actual character). They make mistakes and get hurt and have fun quirks about them. It’s occasionally comedic, which adds to it all – it doesn’t take itself too seriously – yet is much more than a mindless slapstick.
Anyway, my two cents. Go see it. I’m thinking I might just go again.
It’s a cute kid’s movie, sure, but look at that style!
I’m just a sucker for giant exposed gears that run cities, I suppose, even if they are too light and are probably made of styrofoam.. Like Oliver Twist, steampunk and dieselpunk rolled up and glazed with that artificial feel only Disneyland can properly provide.
It’s a toss up. There are lots of kiddie movies that I loved (City of Ember comes to mind) but on the other hand, some are just long running ridiculousness that tries to portray the style without actually breathing it properly.