Writer and director of In Time, Andrew Niccol has a penchant for doing films that are in the science fiction genre. In Time is not an exception. The film depicts an alternate world where everything is based on how long you have left to live. It is not a wholly futuristic film, as many elements of the world are exactly like ours.
The basic premise of the film is that everyone is stops aging at 25 years old. After 25, your clock starts running. The clock is located on your lower arm, always there to remind you how much time you have left. As long as you have time on your clock, you can live forever. This also means that someone who is 100 years old still looks like they are 25. You are given one year in time when the clock starts running. That year can be used up fast because instead of money, time is the currency. A cup of coffee costs three hours. A ritzy hotel may cost two months for a night’s stay. You are paid your wage in time and pay all of your bills in time. Time is added to and taken away from the arm clock by putting the wrist on a metal half-moon contraption. Time can also be added and taken away by gripping the lower arm of another person. Instead of a class system, there are time zones. It requires a certain amount of time to gain access to more upper class time zones, prohibiting the time poor from crossing.
The main character is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who lives in one of the time zone ghettos. He scrapes by on a factory worker’s wage and shares it with his mother (Olivia Wilde). Will is very aware of the time zone class system and how unfair it is that those with hundreds of years can live a luxurious life while those that live by hours lead a pretty bad life. Will saves a man named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from having his time robbed by a gangster or Minutemen (Alex Pettyfer). Henry is 105 years old, no longer wants to live, gives Will his 100 years, and dies. These 100 years gives Will access to New Grennich (sp?) the richest time zone. He meets Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) during a successful poker game and then is introduced to his daughter Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried). The cops, called Timekeepers, led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) track down Will on suspicion of murdering Henry and Will kidnaps Sylvia to get away. This leads to the rest of the film, which honestly would lead to me having to explain a lot more, and I think I have written too much already.
It is hard to explain what I liked and did not like because In Time is so rich in details that it makes it hard to not write even more about this world to explain it. While it may be difficult to write a review for this film, one of the reasons I liked it so much is because of these details. Andrew Niccol sets up a very different world and through the course of the film explains just about every nuance of the world. I appreciated the introduction to the world, not just jumping into the action. I did not have many questions about what happened when the film was over.
While the film may be set in a different world where time is the currency, it deals with very current issues in our own society. Currency and classes separate us, and considering the Occupy Wall Street protests and all of its spinoffs going on right now, the film is well timed in its release date. The film also borrows from the classic tale of Robin Hood in using the theme, steal from the rich and give to the poor. Isn’t this what Warren Buffett is trying to accomplish in a way right now?
I appreciated all of the actors that showed up in the film. Some actors I did not even realize had a role in the film. Sometimes it is nice to be surprised. It has a varied cast that all together works well. Some actors like Olivia Wilde and Matt Bomer do not have big roles, but their roles are pivotal to the film’s plot. I criticized Justin Timberlake as just playing himself in Friends With Benefits, but he seems to have lost himself more in this film. I am sure that this film gave him a better range of emotions and situations to work with which is something he probably needs to stick to. He works well with Amanda Seyfried who plays a damsel in distress who eventually finds her strength.
There are a couple of minor issues with the film. There is a car crash early on in the film that involves a convertible rolling down an embankment and both passengers surviving with only minor injuries. That is farfetched to say the least. There is a purpose to the crash, but it could have been accomplished in a different, more realistic way. Also from a woman’s perspective, there is no way that Amanda Seyfried could run around at a good speed in five inch platform heels. There should have been a sprained ankle in there somewhere. Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried also walked around the ghetto in really nice clothes and jewelry without getting robbed. Earlier in the film, it is explained that those who have too much time on their clock will get robbed. This also goes for nice things which can get pawned for more time.
In Time is unique. While filmgoers are constantly exposed to remakes and sequels in a film industry that seems to have lost originality, In Time gives the viewer a whole new experience. The film is not without a few faults, but overall, it is a fun ride that makes you think. In Time has all of the details and elements that make it a good futuristic science fiction film.
I give In Time 4 “green lazer arm clocks” out of 5.