The old adage that says ‘Time is Money’ is literally brought to life in the Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried starrer ‘In Time’ that is set in a dystopian future where all human beings have been genetically altered to stop aging after turning 25.
While the idea of staying young forever could be alluring, it comes at a cost. As soon as one turns 25, the timer on the arm starts counting backwards giving them just a year to live. Any more longevity needs to be earned. Since time is literally money, people pay in time, like four minutes for a cup of coffee and earn wages in time.
The poor live in ghettos and always have few hours or minutes left to live and they battle for survival against rising costs and taxes. Anyone having more time is robbed by gangsters called Minutemen. Meanwhile, the rich live in elitist New Greenwich and have thousands of years in their account. The barriers between them are justified by Darwinism and are guarded by futuristic police called Timekeepers.
Set in such conditions, ‘In Time’ is somewhat based on Robin Hood’s story where the protagonist Will Salas (Timberlake) believes that there is time for everyone to live and no one should really live forever. When someone rich donates his years to Will and times himself out to die, Will heads towards New Greenwich. Meanwhile, Will is suspected of murder and is chased by timekeeper Raymond (Cillian Murphy).
If our hero with a deadpan expression has to keep his audience interested, he needs an arm-candy; enter Sylvia Weis (Seyfried), the daughter of a wealthy time-lender whom Will eventually steals from. The film also has some action and special effects, some of which are especially tacky like the car crash which is a case in point.
The whole idea of idea of casting everyone as 25 year olds in the film seems to be done mostly with a view to bring younger audiences to the movies. This was exactly what the ‘Twilight’ franchise played on. Now do you notice the connection? For the starcast, Timberlake is not entirely convincing, Amanda Seyfriend isn’t glamor material. Cillian Murphy’s performace as the antagonist is an exception.
In a way the movie is a take on immortal youth and its flipside. While the idea itself is not bad, it leaves gaping plot-holes as to how every single human is genetically engineered and there is not a single person living normally without the countdown timer on his hand. Meanwhile the future world is portrayed with a retro touch.
Coming from director Andrew Niccol who has made films like ‘Gattaca’, ‘The Terminal’ and ‘The Truman Show’, ‘In Time’ is a let down. Contrary to the usual cinematic theme of the protagonist always being right, here, Will Salas is misguided. Not worthwhile!
Rating 3/10: Mixes Robin Hood theme with portrayal of time as money