Wow, that was refreshing and well written.
Justin Timberlake actually did a decent job acting. And as a lightweight-action hero, he was surprisingly convincing. A movie that the #Occupiers will love.
A Hollywood Critique of Capitalism?
The most honest and non-subtle critique of capitalism I’ve seen since the 90s, the dystopia (jacked up world in the future) imagined by Andrew Niccol was brilliantly crafted playing on the common. In this film, the members of the proletariat died at age of 25 unless they found work and earned more time to live. Time was also the currency, so in order to pay for a cup of coffee, for example, one had to pay with time on their life clock. The rich could literally live forever and ever. In this world, “Some have to die in order for some to live forever.”
An awesome futurescape that reimagines and animates Marx’s conception of “alienation” and Orlando Patterson‘s conception of “social death.” Rather than money being “the root of all evil,” time as currency, or the means of exchange for goods, became that root. Niccol replaces “time” for “money” in the Marxian paradigm of critique. In Marx’s essay On the Jewish Question he says of money (for which I will replace “time”):
“Time degrades all the gods of man – and turns them into commodities. Time is the universal self-established value of all things. It has, therefore, robbed the whole world – both the world of men and nature – of its specific value. Time is the estranged essence of man’s work and man’s existence, and this alien essence dominates him, and he worships it.”
Our world is already one in which we have to work for money which allows us to purchase the goods and services we require to live. We are locked into a system which barely provides for our subsistence and still extracts our mental and physical labor in exchange for a few dollars. This is a condition which the enslaved and their descendants have known and understood for quite a long time; a system that would without hesitation witness us die at its hands, would quicken our death, does not recognize us as alive in the first place… this is social death.
Without spoiling the plot, the movie ends up being more about redistribution of wealth than about the dissolution of the system all together, which is not very Marxist, but might be described as socialist. That said, it was a good movie. I enjoyed it. I was surprised by it.
In other words, go see the movie and as you watch it think about the way that our current economic system works in very similar ways on us.