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Would you want to be immortal...even at the cost of other people's lives?
Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Shyloh Oostwald, Johnny Galecki, Olivia Wilde, Vincent Kartheiser
Synopsis: In the not-too-distant future the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries and necessities. The rich can live forever, while the rest try to negotiate for their immortality. A poor young man who comes into a fortune of time, though too late to help his mother from dying. He ends up on the run from a police force known as 'time keepers'.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexualty and partial nudity, and strong language
This Review has arrived...just in the NICK OF TIME!....Not really...
"In Time" is perhaps one of the most interesting science fiction films of the year, but it falls short on what it could have been. There's a couple of old sayings from "Star Trek: Generations" that always struck a chord with me, as the basic concept of life and death can be viewed at in multiple ways. You can either view time as a vicious predator that constantly stalks you, and no matter how hard you try to outrun it with advanced medication or science, it'll always find you in the end. Or, we could view time as an old friend that constantly reminds us that time isn't something that we should take for granted, and that we should learn to appreciate our time in this world as much as we can before our inevitable demise. If this film had played it's cards right, it could have played on both these concepts quite beautifully. Unfortunately, that's not the case here.
Don't get me wrong, "In Time" isn't a bad film by any means, and I certainly like the premise of this movie a lot. No, the only thing that was lacking in the film was it's execution, and it's poorly rushed love story. In this imaginary future, time has literally become the currency in society. All human beings across the world have been genetically modified since birth to stop aging at twenty five years old; hence why you notice that a sultry Olivia Wilde can still play Justin Timberlake's mother in this movie. However, there is a catch to no longer aging once you hit twenty five years old, and that catch is that you only have about a year to live afterwards. Sure, you can barter for more time by either working, gambling, taking out loans for more time (which you'll have to pay back twice the time you've taken), or you can steal it from somebody else. Whatever the case may be, time currency has become not only society's way of dealing with over population of the planet, but it also allows for the extremely wealthy to acquire immortality.
During this future, people are able to read how much time currency they have on their forearms that tells them the exact number of years, days, hours, minutes and seconds they have before they die. Wow, talk about creepy stuff. As we all know about today's modern society, we have people that live day to day off the little resources of money they have, or lack thereof; while others have more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime. Well, the same concept basically applies in the fictional future that we see in this movie, but there's only one key difference. The people that live day to day are literally living day to day. Meaning that unlike the people of today that will be forced to live out on the street if they run out of money, the people in the movie, "In Time", will just straight up drop dead if they can't get enough time to support themselves. Gee, talk about a heavy price to pay. Can you imagine living in such a world where you needed to give up hours, minutes or even years off your life just to buy groceries, pay rent or even see a movie? And can you imagine how frightening it must be that if you have to live day to day like this; fully knowing that death could be lurking for you at any moment if you waste too much time? Talk about a very deep concept, and it's arguably a great one to base a movie around at that.
To get back to the story though, a young man named Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a normal factory worker, who struggles day to day trying to support himself and his mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde). Both are extremely poor, as they constantly have to struggle with a day's worth of time each day. On Will's twenty eighth birthday, he decides to hang out with a friend of his at a local bar. However, as luck would have it, an eccentric hundred year old flashes his time around in the same bar, as he buys everyone drinks; uncaring about the consequences, as he boasts about his immortality among the lower class scrubs of society. Needless to say, a few gangsters take quick notice of this, as they try to steal this man's time away for themselves. Of course, Will goes out of his way to save him, as they both hide out in an abandoned warehouse that night. From here, they both get into philosophical discussions about the concept of time. The rich eccentric hundred year old boasts how even though his body never ages, he claims that immortality is more of a burden than a gift. Claiming that once a person attains immortality, life becomes a mere joke. You stop appreciating the simple precious time you have on this planet, as your mind starts to wither away; presenting the concept that all forms of life secretly wish to die someday, as nobody is meant to constantly cheat death.
However, Will sorely refutes this argument saying that if he had as much time as he does, then he certainly wouldn't waste it. Later that night, the rich person gives Will almost all his time when he's asleep, as it equates to over a hundred years worth of time; while leaving ten minutes for himself. Will wakes up a few minutes after he leaves the place, and sees that he's been given over a hundred years worth of time. Confused at first, he quickly learns that the wealthy person dies, and he's quickly suspected by the time police of stealing it from him; even though it was obviously a gift. Enter Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), a hard nosed cop who'll stop at nothing to get his man. Think "Gattaca" meets "The Fugitive", and you can pretty much get a feel for what Andrew Niccol was going for here.
Unfortunately, the movie tends to get lost halfway from becoming an epic drama piece that would force it's audience question the very morality of society much in the same way "Gattaca" did a while back; while serving as a deep allegory about government conspiracy to maintain over population even at the cost of innocent civilians. Sadly, it falls tragically short of that, as the film is obviously rushed in it's execution.
Another thing worth noting here is that even though Andrew Niccols does a great job fleshing out his main characters (Will, Sylvia and Leon) in this movie, the supporting characters for this film come off as bland, and uninteresting stereotypes that quite frankly aren't that interesting. As for the love story, it could have been fleshed out more, but the movie often rushes past developing Will and Sylvia's relationship in favor of action sequences; thus it's hard to feel any emotional impact for them being together.
Don't get me wrong, "In Time" is not a bad movie by any means. No, it's just one of those science fiction films that had a interesting premise to work with, but it falls short on execution. Overall, I'd probably have to give this movie a two and a half out of four. It's definitely worth checking out on DVD/Blue-Ray if you're into science fiction stuff. However, I wouldn't pay to see this in theaters.