Without a doubt, the concept behind ‘In Time’ is creative, original and intriguing. Too bad that the film isn’t executed in the same fashion.
In the distant future, mankind will stop aging at 25-years-old. A clock within the skin of each person’s forearm will then start counting down one additional year. If the clock runs out, said person dies. Money no longer exists. Time is the currency of tomorrow. Purchases are paid for and workers are paid in hours, minutes and seconds. The small group of rich will live forever, perpetually 25-years-old. Meanwhile, the poor who live day-to-day strive to add more time to their clocks.
Justin Timberlake plays Will, a 28-year-old guy from the ghetto. Knowing nothing more than poverty, he gives as much as he can to the needy. However, not everyone in the ghetto is as kind as he is. When someone “times out” in the street or workplace, others do nothing. Gangs called “Minutemen” steal the little time that others may have and leave them for dead.
When Will sees an out-of-place wealthy man caught by Minutemen, he puts his life in danger to rescue the 105-year-old man with more than a century left on his clock. What Will doesn’t understand is that this wealthy stranger has a death wish. His mind is exhausted and weary, so he’s looking for a way to end it. As Will sleeps, to repay him for his generosity, the man gives Will his remaining time. With nothing to lose, Will sets off on a journey to use his time wisely and bring down the corrupt system.
Writer/director Andrew Niccol’s concept with ‘In Time’ is unique and creative. He uses this idea to tell a true science fiction story, one that carries a moral message about the corruption of politics and business within our society. It’s a shame that the movie never quite reaches its potential. Both the story and the direction used to put it on the big screen are severely lacking. ‘In Time’ occasionally functions like Niccol’s best film, ‘Gattaca‘, but quickly strays into corny territory.
The ‘In Time’ cast features a handful of fitting actors, but places them in the wrong roles. Cillian Murphy plays a timekeeper (detective). Being a much stronger actor than Timberlake, Murphy should have played Will. It’s obvious that Timberlake got the role only due to his star power. Murphy is a recognizable face, but still not quite known by the masses.
Amanda Seyfried plays Timberlake’s love interest, and the always beautiful Olivia Wilde plays his 50-year-old mother. Seyfried is so dull and lifeless that she’s never believable. Wilde, on the other hand, is much more animated and genuine. Wilde should have played the love interest and Seyfried should have been cast in the bit role as the mother.
Based on such a brilliant idea, ‘In Time’ has a whole lot of potential, but never gets close to reaching it. It’s not a terrible film, but it’s certainly not as great as it should be.