Time. The beauty of time is that it’s a great equalizer. Whoever you are, you always have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 12 months in a year.
There’s a saying that time is money. What happens then if time replaces money as currency? Something that must be earned or traded in order to extend your life? Isn’t survival of the fittest unfair? But if you could, would you choose to live forever? How long do you think until enough is enough?
I first heard about “In Time” during this year’s Comic-Con and was most intrigued by the premise. In this alternate reality, everyone is genetically engineered with an internal timer and aging stops at the age of 25. Once you hit 25, you would only have one year to live. If you can’t extend your clock, you die.
Society is divided into “time zones” that segregate the rich from the poor. Timekeepers enforce order in order to prevent overpopulation. The haves, with excess amount of time, have the privilege to live to eternity. The have-nots live on a day-to-day basis and struggle without the possibility of upward mobility. Those who can’t earn, beg, borrow or steal time, zero out their clock and die on the streets from a fatal shock to the heart.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, “The Social Network“), a laborer with a good heart, saves a wealthy man, Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from time thugs led by ‘Fortis’ (Alex Pettyfer, “I am Number Four“). The suicidal man who possesses more than a hundred years has decided that he’s done with life and donates all his time to Will, unbeknownst to him. Tragically, Will couldn’t arrive in the nick of time to transfer some of his time to prolong his mother’s (Olivia Wilde, “Tron Legacy“) life.
With his newfound lease on life, Will gets out of the ghetto, skips zones and arrives at the well-to-do’s doorsteps, with the intention of taking away what they’ve got. Having the wealth of time allows him to mingle with the well-off and catches the eye of an heiress, Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried, “Letters to Juliet“) . She’s the daughter of billionaire Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). It’s like a twilight zone to see Philippe’s mother-in-law, wife and daughter all appear to be the same age, frozen in time.
When timekeepers, headed by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy, “Inception“), finds Henry’s body and a security camera leads them to Will, Will becomes a wanted man, falsely accused of murder. He ensnares Sylvia, who eventually becomes his accomplice in his “Robin Hood” mode, in a race for survival and to distribute the gift of life to those less fortunate.
Aside from the futuristic aspect, the thought-provoking premise isn’t helped by a mediocre script, a pace that drags and cardboard characters. There are chunks of Bonnie-and-Clyde actions with Will and Sylvia on the run. Actions that become rather lifeless after a while. A standout scene, of all things, is an arm-wrestling between Will and Fortis, a clever way for Will to gain time.
“In Time” is stylistically entertaining, but the story could have been a lot more developed.
Copyright (c) 2011. Nathalia Aryani.
Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://themoviemaven.posterous.com). Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven