In Time FILM REVIEW
A clock and cull story
Second later the gun accidentally went off and he was Justin Timber-less.
Release Date: 1 November 2011
12A * 109 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Matt Bomer, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Vincent Kartheiser, Johnny Galecki
Back in 1997, Andrew Niccol arrived with a splash thanks to the smart, stylish Gattaca, which posited a future where genetic engineering could lead to physical perfection… provided you could afford it. Now comes a similar concept – so similar, in fact, that it was actually dreamt up by the writer/director back then, but left out of the script for fear of overloading the material. It’s another intriguing, intelligent idea, this time about the role that time plays in all our lives. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as well executed as that calm, cool DNA drama.
In Time definitely has a lot on its mind, though, bringing to life the notion that time is money. In this seemingly parallel world, everyone grows to the age of 25; then you get a year on top of that and must work to earn more months, days, and hours – unless you’re wealthy, in which case you have centuries to play with. Niccol uses the early sections to neatly illustrate how such a system could be perverted by those who have the power to do so, with the poor left having to literally run for their lives. As an exploration of the inequality inherent in our economic systems, it’s certainly timely and, to begin with, thoughtful.
Sadly, it’s also a little braindead once the set-up is in place and poor lad Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is on the run with rich girl Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried). Wrongly accused of murdering a wealthy man for his time, Will is forced to act, and drags Sylvia out of her pampered existence and into a world of Robin Hood-meets-Bonnie-and-Clyde robberies, looking to add a little more balance back to the world’s clock-happy banks. With the Timekeeper cops on his tail (led by Cillian Murphy, who does well with what he’s given), Will has to do a lot of running, driving and fighting to stay alive.
The action-movie parts of In Time largely let the clock tick down, and also expose some of the more glaring plotholes (such as the way time is stored and exchanged being laughably insecure). Timberlake and Seyfried are decent, but Niccol stumbles when called upon to put the pedal down and have his characters dash around, and even early on, you’ll be cringing at the number of chrono-related phrases (“clean his clock”, “don’t waste my time”
and so on). Still, for all its flaws, this remains worth some of your hard-earned time.
Watch a clip from In Time here.