Movie Reviews

In Time: Like Clockwork

By Zaki JufriMovies - 27 October 2011 3:03 PM | Updated 5:15 PM

In Time: Like Clockwork

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A story about the commodification of time, In Time starts off terrific but grows repetitive and you somehow feel that 109 minutes of your time is wasting away watching this movie.

The latest science-fiction movie from writer-director Andrew Niccoll takes place in a parallel universe where, literally, time is money: A futuristic dystopia where everyone stops aging at 25 and basically have a year to live (unless you have time to buy more time). The upper-class hoard centuries and the poor live from one day to the next.

In Time

Everyone has this glowing clocks in In Time. Who needs Rolexs?

Death is instant when you ‘time out’—that is when your clock goes to zero. Everyone has a glowing countdown clock on his or her arm which must be replenished with time before it gets down to zero. Right, who needs a fancy Rolex when you can have one of these?

Remember the ‘time is money’ part? In this movie, a phone call can cost you a minute of your life, a bus ride two hours, breakfast in a fancy restaurant eight-and-a-half weeks. You can trade time with others just by locking arms but can be robbed the same way. You can hire bodyguards if you can afford the time. Ok, enough about the murky specifics. We know you don't have time for it.

In Time

Amanda Seyfreid plays Sylvia Weiss, a time heiress.

So here we have Justin Timberlake as Will Salas, a working stiff living in the ghetto. He rescues a suicidal rich guy Henry (Matt Bomer, from TV's White Collar) from time thugs. Henry then lets him in on the secret about this 'time is money' thing and gifts him a century. With lots of time on his hands (pun intended), he crosses Time Zones (the city is divided into several areas) into the affluent New Greenwich where he bumps into time magnate Phillipe Weis (Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser) and has eyes for his hot headed and rebellious daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfreid). By this time, Salas is falsely accused of murdering Henry and he has Time Keepers, led by the amazing Cillian Murphy, hot on his heels.

The film then turns into a mix of ‘Robin Hood’ meets ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ when Salas and hostage-turned accomplice Sylvia go on a revenge spree to steal years from the rich and give them back to the poor.

Director Andrew Niccol has made a career out of creating these conceptual sci-fi stories (Gattaca, Simone, The Truman Show). Despite its interesting premise, Niccol appears to have take the film nowhere.

He seems to milk the time cliches to death and tries to make some commentary about social inequality how the rich get all the time they need while poor folk get the squeeze (Occupy Wall Street anyone?). The time-for-money concept leaves a lot of questions unanswered as well. As the movie ticks away, the lack of a well-fleshed out plot soon catches up with Niccol and you will be left scratching your head.

In Time

Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfreid and Vincent Kartheiser

Despite of that, leading man Timberlake looks capable is carrying this film to the end but In Time is definitely not his finest hour as he can’t seem to nudge his performance to the next level. This certainly squanders his chance to break into action movie territory after a fine showing in The Social Network.

If you can get past the flimsy plot and cheesy lines--"Have you got a minute?" and "You're taking forever"--In Time is actually an entertaining film to watch. Its commentary of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ certainly is relevant and an apt metaphor about the state of the economy today. Not to mention the fact that everyone in this film is ‘25’ and looks hot (Olivia Wilde is the ultimate MILF here by the way).