A sci-fi film based around the concept of time as a commodity, staring an ex-boy band member and the chick from Mamma Mia! I was at best sceptical, at worst scared of what the results could be.
After the first 15 minutes of In Time, my mind was put relatively at ease. Justin Timberlake was very good, and believable as this roguish, battling, time-short character, Will Salas. Supported beautifully, if only briefly by both Olivia Wilde, (Tron: Legacy, House, Cowboys & Aliens) as his mum, and Johnny Galecki, of Big Bang fame, as his best friend.
As I said this film starts very well and sets the ground rules clearly for the premise of the entire narrative. When you reach the age of 25, you stop ageing, the ageing gene has been deactivated, and from there you have one year to live, recorded digitally on one’s forearm. However time can be earned, but also must be spent on everything. Time has replaced money and is the only form of currency in this, ‘not too distant future’ version of our own world. Society is separated into time zones, with the rich getting richer and the poor living at times minute to minute. A line said more than once in the film sums it all up, “For a few immortals to live, many people must die”.
They die by running out of time, or ‘timing out’, big business keeps raising prices and taxes, so the ghetto’s population decreases. It’s a good premise and quite well executed. After about the 15-20 minute mark however, things seem to go downhill. I put this down primarily to Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia and Red Riding Hood), among others. The introduction of her character, although critical to the entire film, made the remainder of the movie quite hard to watch. For mine, she comes across as very wooden and one dimensional, she is this expressionless porcelain marionette, I swear at times you can see the strings. Timberlake continues to steal the show, particularly in the action sequences, where he excels, I can see an action movie in his future. He carries this film and does so quite well.
I won’t spoil anything. In Time is essentially a retelling of Bonnie and Clyde (Timberlake and Seyfried), with the moral code of Robin Hood. The motivation of the key characters is to steal time from the rich to redistribute to the poor within classic themes of the roguish outlaws fighting an unjust and corrupt system. They do pull it off, however the film lacks a real enemy, a dark evil character, that the viewer can loathe and justify the actions of the main characters. There are a few morally corrupt examples in the film, but none of them step forward as anything truly evil, or worth fighting against.
See In Time, don’t waste money going to the Cinema, but have a look at it when it comes out on DVD, if for nothing else than to be surprised by Justin Timberlake’s performance.
by Adam Hennessy