In Time Review

I saw Andrew Niccol’s In Time today and as I really liked the premise of the film I was hoping to enjoy it. However, for me the Justin Timberlake factor meant that I didn’t really get into it. There is some great acting (Cillian Murphy and Vincent Kartheiser) but the leads, Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried can’t carry the film.

In Time is set in the future (Los Angeles – but not named as such) where people stop aging at twenty-five but the downside is that they have only one more year to live unless they can buy more time. So everyone is counting down and they all have these very cool sub-dermal, digital countdown clocks on their arms so that we can see just how long they have got. If you are wealthy there is a chance that you could live forever.

It is a stratified society and the poor are literally living day-to-day, doing anything to buy even a minute more. Our hero (Timberlake) plays Will Salas, a factory worker trying to do the best he can for his friends and family. He ends up with a huge time top-up from a rich man who has grown tired of living. And of course that leads to the poor and rich colliding.

This is what The NY Times had to say:

The tick tick tock of the mortal clock gives the science-fiction thriller “In Time” its slick, sweet premise. Set in a near or far future in a segregated city that resembles the separated, weirdly depopulated neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles (where it was shot), the movie imagines a world in which everyone stops aging at 25. (Just like in Hollywood!) On that birthday a glowing green digital clock on everyone’s left forearm starts running, giving them just 365 days to go and then 364, 363, 362. When the days run out, the clock stops for good.

In this futureworld in which time is literally money — everything, including food, shelter and wages, is valued in minutes, hours, years, decades — it’s possible to slow the escaping hourglass sand by buying more time, as the rich do. The poor, of course, are slaves to time: many die young and stay pretty, and are preyed on by time bandits called Minute Men, who clean clocks at gunpoint.

In the ghetto the industrial-looking time zone called Dayton where Will (Justin Timberlake) lives, most people only scrape together a few extra hours. At 28 he has managed to put three additional years on his life, but the cost of breathing keeps going up. What set him back an hour yesterday may take two hours off his life tomorrow.

Read the rest here.

In the NZ Herald  Francesca Rudkin gave the film four stars out of five and this is what she had to say:

Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are a futuristic Bonnie and Clyde in this stylish sci-fi action thriller from New Zealand director Andrew Niccol. As you’d expect from Niccol, the writer/producer of The Truman Show and the writer/director of Gattaca, In Time is a thoughtful, slick and stylish film, which this time draws on issues like over-population, our obsession with staying and looking young, and the lack of time in our busy modern lives.

Niccol builds on the idea that time is money, and literally makes time the currency of the day. In Time sees people engineered to stop ageing at 25, at which point they have one year left to live – unless they can earn, steal or borrow more time. Everyone’s destiny is worn on their arm, where a built-in digital clock counts down how much time they have before their body self-destructs. If you’re rich you can live forever and look good doing so; if you’re poor like Will Salas (Timberlake) then you live somewhere like the Dayton ghetto where life is very much day to day.

It’s a clever idea and an obvious metaphor; the wealthy few control the supply of time, callously raising the cost of living in poorer areas while also making the ability to earn time more difficult. After Salas experiences first hand just how the rich get richer through the poor being expendable he decides to confront the system.

Read the rest here.

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