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In Time Review

As far as the
similarly explored themes in many dystopian sci-fi flicks, In Time equates to a well-polished melange of Robin Hood, Bonnie and Clyde
with a dash of the Matrix – with
glowing green digital clocks. For the most part the elements that comprise this
universe are handled admirably, if not with a great deal of flare or an
in-depth peek at the world we visit in this Andrew Niccol thriller.

This is
singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake’s first action vehicle, though the film
is curiously light on action when everything i
s said and done. That is not to
say there is no excitement to be had but this is principally a chase-thriller
and not some blood-filled shoot ‘em up. Timberlake is good here but he is in a icy “too cool for school” mode, meaning he cannot exude as much charm as he did in
movies like Friends with Benefits or The Social Network. Amanda Seyfried
plays the love interest, the daughter of one of the world’s richest men, who
runs off with Timberlake’s Will after a mid-film confrontation. Her motivations
(or personality for that matter) are never really fleshed out and she serves
mostly as eye candy, a task at which she does a bang-up job. Cillian Murphy is
hot on Will’s trail as a time-cop (no relation to the Van Damme movie) and is also
underused in stoic, trench-coat mode. In this film, premise is the star.

For everyone living in the
futuristic world of In Time, time
literally is money and for Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), keeping the water
running and having food in his stomach comes down to seconds. For you see, time
is not just some fleeting measure of duration but a currency; it can be earned,
traded, donated, stolen and of course, spent. Residing in the slums of this
era with his mother played by Olivia Wilde (who is 50 but looks 25) they scrape
by paycheck to paycheck as the cost of living continues to rise.

drinking his sorrows away at a bar, Will intervenes in a confrontation between a
well-dressed man and a time-stealing gang known as “Minute en.” It so happens
that this man has been spending away his thousands of years over the previous
months, tired of living, and has carved his life clock down to a little over a
century. In an act of essential suicide, he “times out,” leaving Will with a
hundred years and an upset balance among the set system of who should carry
those years.

The initial set-up for In Time reveals that for some reason
humans have been genetically engineered to cease aging at age 25 and then given one year to do with as they please. But as time works as
currency in this future, it is never fleshed out who “creates” this time and for
what end purpose. There are banks and stock markets for time (which can be
stored in small portable safes) and residents of certain time zones (not
exactly what you think) are born with different banks of minutes: one year,
10, 50. Time in this world, like money today, is essentially an arbitrary
measure of value in that you must pay interest on a loan and can double your
money in a lucky stock pick, but how “time” can then be transferred to a person
is a tad squirrelly.

Population control is
hinted at one of the reasons people are born with more or less time as is some
sort of corrupt governing body that wants to keep the rich rich and the poor,
preferably, dead. There are enforcers known as “Time Keepers” who ensure that
time is kept within the proper district as well as investigating in thefts, but
to who they answer to is also never revealed. Like when dissecting most science-fiction projects, questions are bound to come up, but a number of these
mysteries tilt more towards the realm of plot hole than intrigue (not to mention
the corny factor of time-based one-liners galore such as “got a minute” or “who
has the time?” C’mon, Niccol, you’re better than that).

In Time
is worth a mild recommendation in spite of a number of rough patches throughout
the second half, thanks in part mostly to the intriguing world Niccol has
constructed and a number of tense sequences including a face-off with the
aforementioned Minute Men that places Timberlake squarely in badass mode. Had
time been spent more on fleshing out the premise and truly exploring the
intricate dynamics of this future instead of tossing in car chases, something
special could have come about. Instead we are left with an entertaining
diversion (and with a cornucopia of time puns swirling around my mind) I will
simply say In Time is 100 minutes
mostly well spent.

Rating: 7.0/10

 In Time
Directed by Andrew Niccol
Written by Andrew Niccol
Starring Justin
Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde


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