The phrase “Time is money” has been heard many times. In the new Andrew Nicoll-movie In Time, time is quite literally money (take a shot for every time a character makes a pun accordingly). After a human turns 25, he ceases to age physically, but only has one year left on his clock, unless he is a man of wealth and thus able to obtain more and thus extend his life to unnatural levels.
A lot of people might think of Philip K. Dick when they hear this premise. Me, I’m reminded of David Firth, but I’ll get to that in a bit. I think the concept sounds rather interesting, hence why I wish it would’ve been used in a smarter film. In Time has a cool idea but isn’t really a fantastically cool film.
In Time is set in a future where, as I’ve explained, time is money. Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a man who lives in a ghetto where all who are short on time live. He dreams of taking his still young-looking mother (Olivia Wilde) with him to New Greenwhich, where those who are rich and practically immortal live; if one is rich, one can have thousands of years left on their clocks. One night, Will saves a rich 100-year-old man named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from a man named Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), the leader of The Minutemen, a gang that steals time for those who have alot.
Henry sacrifices his life by giving all his remaining time to Will, who, after suddenly losing his mother, uses his time to pay for a trip to New Greenwhich where he befriends wealthy businessman Phillipe Weise (Vincent Kartheiser) and falls in love with his daughter Syliva (Amanda Seyfried). The two become fugitives after Will brings Sylvia along when he his found by The Timekeepers, the police force of this world.
Lead by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), The Timekeepers chase after the two. It gets worse when The Minutemen learn of how valuable the two have become and start searching for them as well.
During their adventure, Will teaches Sylvia that no one should live forever if someone else has to die and how much better it would be if the amount of time for each individual was more evened out. In a way, I suppose the film is about the beauty of sharing.
It seems like the film is trying to be a crime/romance drama that just happens to take place in a futuristic sci-fi world. This, my friends, was done better in The Adjustment Bureau. As cool as this whole concept sounds, there are plenty of things in In Time that don’t make a lot of sense. For instance, some scenes are dedicated to Leon speaking to Will about something that happened to his father. What role did Leon have in Will’s father’s death? Did I miss something? Maybe I was distracted by all the increasingly tiresome time-related punds.
There are some things I like about the movie. The way it is shot at times, the music at times and Cillian Murphy; those are all first-rate. I’m wishing the story was a little more clever and less non-sensical; with a premise like this you have great oppurtunities for really smart story-twists and such. There wasn’t a lot of that here. If you choose to see something else this week, it wont hurt so much. I’m glad, though, that the film shows us that Justin Timberlake’s acting is better than his music.
I’ve heard that the film has also been accused of plagiarism and people have believed that the film’s actually based on the short story “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison. I, on the other hand, couldn’t help but think it was based on A Short Cartoon About Time by David Firth, where characters who literally run out of time simply go and buy some more.
Below is my rating, the trailer and what I think could be a source of inspiration to In Time.