I am not sure what it is but I am willing to see anything these days featuring Justin Timberlake. He is charming, talented, attractive, and personable. I am also a fan of Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy, therefore, how could I resist In Time starring all three. Not only did the performances live up to my expectations, the film is exciting, thought-provoking, and entertaining.
Set in the year 2161, genetic engineering has established set lifespans. Everyone stops aging at 25 and is given one year to live unless you are able to earn more time. Time has become the only currency: you work for time, use time for purchases, and can trade time with others. The amount of time remaining is implanted on a person’s arm and once the clock reaches zero they die instantly. The distance between the wealthy and the poor has widen to the point that they are segregated into different districts. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is factory worker living in one of the poorest districts. He lives from day to day earning time for both him and his mom Rachel (Olivia Wilde).
One night after work, Will runs into and saves the life of Henry (Matt Bomer), a wealthy 105-year-old with 116 years of time left. Henry explains to Will that society has become such that the rich have become immortal at the sacrifice of the poor. This enrages Will who argues the unfairness that exists, and that no one should die to the prolonged life of another. Henry yearns to die so when Will falls asleep he transfers the majority of his time to Will and leaves just enough to get to a bridge in which to kill himself. Will tries to save Henry but shows up a little too late and his actions are caught on camera. Whenever large transfers of time occurs, timekeepers, who serve as the policemen, are notified. One such timekeeper, Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), believes that Will has murdered Henry for him time and sets out on a search to find him.
In the meantime, Will goes to meet up with his mother to transfer some of him time to her but due to an increase in bus fare he doesn’t make it to her in time and she dies in his arms. Grief-stricken over the death of his mother, he sets out to seek revenge. Will travels to the richest district where he encounters a wealthy businessman, Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and his daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Sylvia is intrigued by Will and starts to learn what it is like to really live by going for a swim in the ocean, something she has never done before. She realizes that the wealthy live forever but don’t really live because they are so afraid of death. When Raymond catches up with Will, Will takes Sylvia hostage, which begins an adventure that neither of them could have anticipated.
In Time attempts to tackle the age-old problem of the battle between the rich and the poor. The themes of the film are extremely pertinent considering everything currently occurring in the United States. With the disparity between the rich and the poor getting greater and the shrinking of the middle class, this film highlights the extremes that could occur if this trend continues. Additionally, it asks the question what would you do if you know how much time you had left? Would you hoard it and try to live forever or enjoy every extra moment you have.
I really enjoyed this film. Timberlake is perfect as the champion for the underdog; he is tough and vulnerable. Seyfried is fine in her role, it isn’t especially challenging and she plays the part with believability. The standout roles are Murphy and Kartheiser. Even though you want to hate Kartheiser’s character and everything he stands for, you can identify with his emotions and what he is trying to attain. Murphy always has a level of creepiness in his characters but here it is nicely subdued to provide the foundation of a flawed man trying to do what he thinks is right. My only criticism of the film is there are way too many running scenes. I understand that the director is using it to illustrate the urgency of time but it becomes ineffective. Overall, writer/director Andrew Niccol made an enthralling science-fiction thriller that offers more depth than most.
The screener made available for this review only contained the film. The DVD is going to come with Deleted/Extended Scenes. The Blu-ray will feature those scenes as well as “The Minutes” featurette and access to In Time: The Game App. Both are on sale January 31.