The Gift? I’d give it back

The Gift (2015)

Director & Writer: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

One day, I saw the DVD cover for this film and thought ‘hey, that looks interesting’, and based on what I read on the back, I decided that one day I would get myself a copy and watch it. Jump to about a year later, and I did.

Can I return to sender? Me no like it…

Going by the standard structure of a film, the first ten minutes or so shows the every-day normality of the characters’ lives, after which there is an event that changes things. Well, I was bored by the ten-minute mark, and the life-changing event had supposedly happened by then. I wasn’t shaken up, I wasn’t going ‘ooh, this is getting good’, I was yawning and getting ready to abandon the so-called adventure. But I decided to give it a chance, thinking there would be some huge reveal later on.

I’m still waiting.

Spoiler alert – Apparently, main character guy (Jason Bateman) lied about something. But the truth was never revealed. So some guy (the flippin’ writer!) tries to get revenge on him for lying about him when they were teenagers? And goes about it by giving him koi fish and a baby carrier? Get a grip!

As sad as it is to say, this was not great story-telling. I was not engaged. I did not root for any of the characters (except the dog, darnit that dog was cute). And I certainly did not feel that I had experienced anything other than annoyance at the fact that some truth was hidden in there and I just couldn’t see it.

BAH!

“Just because you’re done with the past doesn’t mean the past is done with you” – tagline

Yeah, it does.

 

Got time? Review of In Time (2011)

In Time (2011)

Director & Writer: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy

I first watched this film in the cinema back in 2011, but the premise has been intriguing enough to stick with me ever since. Citizens of a new world are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25 years, after which they have 365 days to ‘spend’ before they die. If a person wants to live beyond the year that becomes active on their 25th birthday, they have to earn the time. It is a world where a coffee costs 4 minutes, and the price of a bus journey could be death.

“The cost of living keeps rising to make sure people keep dying” – Henry Hamilton

In their world, the rich have nothing but time on their hands, yet they’re too afraid to do anything with it. They hoard it, try to hide the evidence of it, and succumb to the ages-old weakness of always wanting more. On the other side, people die just looking for a few more minutes. If you don’t keep moving, don’t run fast enough, you time out.

“The poor die and the rich don’t live” – Sylvia Weis

Aesthetically speaking, I find myself sucked in to the In Time world. Just like I do every other time I watch a film I like. Because this film is beautifully shot – low saturation, empty spaces giving the viewer room to breathe and not be suffocated by the pressure of ‘time’ – and because it’s easy on my eyes, I watch it time and time again.

Although, the characters are pretty much all as interesting as a grain of sand. And I think I know the reason why. It’s another way to show that we as humans are all the same – the only difference being that we live our lives based on what opportunities are presented to us. I could go further with this, but I don’t particularly want to fall into that rabbit hole…

The bottom line is, there’s a reason why we’re not meant to live forever.

“You can do a lot in a day” – Will Salas

So go do it.