Movie Review – In Time (2011)

In Time, 2011.

Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol.
Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Shyloh Oostwald, Johnny Galecki, Colin McGurk, Olivia Wilde and Cillian Murphy.


In a future where the rich can live forever, a man falsely accused of murder must try to figure out a way to bring down the system.

Andrew Niccol’s latest cinematic offering is set in a world where every human being is genetically modified to stop aging at 25, but only having one more year left on their body clocks. When the clocks stops so do they. The inhabitants of this world can earn more time by working, but also have to spend their time on rent, food and anything else required to survive. Time is the currency. The film stars Justin Timberlake as Will Salas, a 28-year-old factory worker living in a poor neighbourhood who can time-fight and play cards, but just doesn’t have the time for either. Will – as does everyone – has a ticking clock in his left wrist that shows how much time he has left and he can give or receive time by holding hands with other people.

When a chance encounter with a stranger with a hundred years on his clock sees Salas get gifted that time he goes about trying to reach his Mother to share it with her. But… he’s too late and her clock stops. Filled with remorse and anger Will uses his new find time to travel through the expensive toll booths that separate the rich and the poor. His destination is New Greenwich, where the rich live, and he sets about trying to take them for all they have. After winning over a thousand years in a cards game he gathers the attention of the rich and especially time-lending magnate Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and his intrigued daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried).

In this world the police are known as Timekeepers and effectively hunt down people who steal time. Leon (Cillian Murphy), a top Timekeeper thinks that the death of the stranger with a hundred years is suspicious and seeks to find Will and charge him with murder. Leon finds Will in New Greenwich and tries to arrest him, but will gets free and takes Sylvia hostage. In fleeing together Sylvia and Will strike up a relationship and become a time stealing duo in the vain of Bonnie and Clyde as they steal time from her father and give it to the poor. The pair end up as lovers and attempt to fight the system and bring down the corrupt world of time.

In Time is an obvious comment on the current world financial crisis and suggests that there are people in power with plenty of money who up prices and create financial difficulty for those who are poor to try and squeeze them out of society. Survival of the fitness or as the film suggests ‘Darwinian capitalism’. The hidden agenda of the film isn’t that hidden and is pretty much an obvious smack in face. The film has taken a boatload of conspiracy theories on Bilderberg, the Rockefellas and world politics in order to create their world and have just changed money for time. Time replacing money more than suggests that the powers that be are trying to bring to and end the time of the poor.

In Time tries to be really clever, but it’s so simple that it becomes comical especially as every 2 minutes for the entire 110 minute running time someone mentions time, not having time, needing time or wanting time. There’s having a theme for your film and then there’s over egging it to the point where it becomes pointless. Like saying a word over and over again repeatedly to the point where that word no longer has meaning – time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time!

Besides the huge over usage of the theme of the film there was so many little things that bugged me. It was a sort of futuristic world, but looked just like ours except for everyone drove classic style cars with a few moderations. The Timekeeper cars are classic American muscle cars, but in matte black with tinted windows and Knight Rider style lights in the front grill and above the windscreen. The cars also made a sort of electric sound as they moved as well as Star Trek style noises when opening their doors. To say they looked cheap is an understatement and because of their familiar look, but unfamiliar qualities they lacked authenticity and only served to hinder the suspension of disbelief.

Also annoying was that New Greenwich and its inhabitants have a clear influence from 1960’s America and Dayton from 1980’s hip hop culture. Why I have no idea? Again the mix of familiar and unfamiliar was disjointing. Then there was Justin Timberlake. His ability to act was clearly in question throughout and when he cradled his dead mother’s body and attempted to cry the camera cuts away to a wide shot, which I am sure is because his ability to portray the required emotions were absent without leave.

In Time has also been on the receiving end of a lawsuit for plagiarism from a story called “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman as well as having striking similarities to Logan’s Run. This just goes to clarify that the film is neither new nor clever.

In Time is a bad idea poorly executed and quite frankly was a waste of 110 minutes of my life. I do not have the time to waste on a film like this. The clock is ticking. Time is running out. Time to go. Time. Time. Time! Should’ve gone to see The Lion King.

D.J. Haza

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  • Talentsokker

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