Posted July 25, 2011 by Jack Jones in Films

In Time

In a future where the human race stops aging at the age of 25 but are engineered to live only one more year, time is a precious commodity and has become the only currency.

a future where the human race stops aging at the age of 25 but are engineered
to live only one more year, time is a precious commodity and has become the
only currency.

The phrase “time is money” has never been so
apt. With a multi-layered ideas movie, director Andrew Niccol has returned to the form of his debut sci-fi picture Gattaca.
Clearly Niccol has an eye for interesting, old-fashioned science fiction
cinema; where the style of the film relied on the weight of the ideas, rather
than the flashiness of the action sequences.

When Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) saves a wealthy man from having his time stolen
from him, Will is the fortunate recipient of over a hundred years of time,
prolonging his life. Because of Will’s humble upbringing in the ghetto, he is
unfortunately presumed to have murdered this man for his time and is chased by
a group of law enforcers known as Timekeepers. Given his newfound wealth Will
enters into the exclusive Time Zones in which the rich buy their immortality.

In a somewhat creaking plot contrivance, Will
encounters a very powerful businessman whose daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) is pulled into Will’s
mission to break down the walls of inequality and the opulent supremacy the
upper echelons of society enjoy. As romance blossoms, the law begins to bear
down on our vigilantes, but will they run out of time before their mission is

Though at times the costumes, props and set
designs hark back to some rather less impressive dystopian future films like Demolition
, In Time is
closer to the intelligent and smart-thinking science fiction that became so
prevalent during the 1970s, lifting a number of riffs on social
hierarchy and over-population from 70s sci-fi classic Soylent Green. In a
way, In Time feels
particularly contemporary, highlighting recent arguments around the burgeoning
gap between society’s wealthiest and the poorest but also proves how ahead of
its time Soylent Green was.

Small details such as the exchange of time as
currency via either purchases, bets or charity is a very intriguing idea that
Niccol uses effectively without overplaying it. The presence of a luminous
clock on the arm of each character is fascinating tool that allows for
constantly anxious looks, glances and panicked desperation as the time rapidly
reaches its expiry. But as the poor scrounge day-to-day to find the hours,
minutes, even seconds to preserve themselves, the rich are cocooned within
their 25-year-old selves for hundreds, even thousands, of years, a truly
harrowing concept whichever way you look at it.

Both Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried
are perfectly fine in the lead roles and work a certain Bonnie and Clyde
quality that at times proves quite charming. As Timekeeper Raymond Leon, Cillian Murphy is draped in much of the
same leather coats that the Grammaton Cleric’s from Equilibrium wear.
But despite this close resemblance in both character and attire, Murphy again
proves to be absorbing screen presence. But when the plot jumps from an ‘on the
run’ thriller into a Robin Hood-vigilante mission, some of the early momentum
of In Time’s travails into
Darwinism, social order and immortality is lost. In much the same way that The
Adjustment Bureau
brought a sense of sophisticated sci-fi to
the blockbuster format of entertainment, In
Time is smart, fun and well produced enough to value the price of

Though flawed thanks to an over indulgence in
plotlines, In Time is a
pretty workable and entertaining thrill ride into the world of old-fashioned
‘ideas’ sci-fi. Groundbreaking? No. Enjoyable? Certainly. Just make sure you
catch it before you run out of time.

Jack Jones