In Time (2011)

His crime isn’t stealing time…it’s giving it away

Director: Andrew Niccol

Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi

Type: Mainstream

Rated PG13

Running Time: 109 minutes

In theory, this started out as a good film. It was thought provoking, if you let it marinate in your head for a while. But, somewhere down the line, it miraculously turned into some sad sci-fi version of Bonnie & Clyde.

Timberlake is back on the screen as Will Salas. A poor guy living in one of the poorest sectors of a new society in the future  that uses time, instead of money, as currency. Some of you may be familiar with the book that the film is “adapted” from (I use quotations here because the writing credit is not actually given to the author, but to Niccol for the screenplay…but ideally the concept comes from the original novel).

Now, the idea of time as currency is brilliant. In the poor sectors, people can only live day by day, relying on the time they get paid at the end of a day of unsavoury work. And sometimes, you just don’t have enough time. Salas’ mother (played by Wilde), for example, doesn’t even have enough time on her clock to take the bus to meet her son. The driver wouldn’t even let her on and let Will pay the difference when she gets to the next stop. Of course, you can guess what happens next and yes, it was very sad.  So anyway, in short, Will is just given a century’s worth of time by some poor pathetic dude (can you sense my sarcasm here?) who decides to kill himself ’cause he’s “bored” and what not. He says to Will, “Don’t waste my time”. Then, we segué into Will deciding every one should have a chance and so on and so on- typical ‘social equality and justice for all’ type story. Along the way, he meets a rich girl played by Seyfried, who at some random point in the film suddenly decides she is now romantically involved with Timberlake’s character. Cue my “WTF” face (although it was indeed expected, but the build up was barely visible).

I didn’t like Seyfried for this role. I found her character to be daft and naive and in fact, quite unnecessary to the plot if it weren’t for her being the daughter of a very important character. Why do women often have to play such characters in film? Anyways! My point is, I feel Seyfried’s talents were wasted on this. She is one who should really stick to dominant roles. I hate to see her play second fiddle to a man’s character.  (Here is the film theory student talking…haha). Timberlake was as good as you would expect. Again, after The Social Network (2010), I do think he could have stretched his acting legs elsewhere, but hey, movie making is a money making business, right?

The appealing characteristics of the film reside with the visuals and the differences in social standing. For example, people who are poor (i.e. don’t have time to waste) are always in a hurry (and thus, are good runners). However, the rich never run anywhere- they have all the time in the world. They can sleep in and take their time to eat…do whatever they want. The visuals were striking even though looking back in retrospect, it was really mainly shades of grey and black…

The Long and Short: Overall, In Time was an alright movie. The concept was intriguing. I wouldn’t jump out of a plane to see it again though.

My Recommendation: I generally recommend this to anyone familiar with the book, or anyone who is a sci-fi fan (though, there are definitely way better sci-fi films out there- cue Gattaca, 1997).

Favourite Scene: Even though it was so completely obvious what was going to happen, my favourite scene was when Wilde (AKA the mother) and Timberlake were running towards each other as her time ticked down.



One thought on “In Time (2011)

  1. Good review, Tiff. The concept sounded interesting, although I couldn’t understand why in the previews Amanda Seyfried looked very “futuristic” and JT just looked… like JT. I think I’ll wait for DVD for this one and just rewatch the classic GATTACA instead — so good! 🙂

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