In Time: Movie Review
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy,
Director: Andrew Niccol
Kiwi director Andrew Niccol returns with this sci-fi film, set sometime a few
days after the day after tomorrow.
In this alternative future, people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy
themselves more time. A green digital clock counting down on their arm signals
how much time they've got left in life - but they have options to work to buy
time and can transfer it freely between themselves. With me so far?
It's in this world we meet Justin Timberlake's Will Salas, who lives in the
ghettos. When Salas finds himself in a bar one night with a man who's got over a
century of time notched up on his arm, Salas ends up saving him from a corrupt
gang preying on those who live in the ghetto.
However, the next day, Salas finds the man dead and all the time transferred
Suddenly, the police force of TimeKeepers (including Cillian Murphy's
character) is on his tail - and Will heads to New Greenwich where the rich live
to try and escape the law and live his life.
There, he meets Amanda Seyfried's Sylvia Weis, the rich girl/spoilt
brat who's desperate to get out of her father's clutches so that she can live a
However, she hadn't bargained for becoming Will's hostage when he finds
himself trapped and with nowhere to run....
It's an intriguing concept and one ripe for sci fi trappings but In Time just
falls short of its clever central premise.
The whole feel is starchly pompous at times and utterly silly at others. It's
also a mish mash of other films; shades of Logan's Run, elements of Bonnie and
Clyde and touches of Robin Hood as Salas robs time from the rich to give to the
poor. With lines like "The poor die, but the rich don't live" and "Don't waste
my time", there's some heavy handed hammering home of the ideas at play
That's some of the problem as the film doesn't quite know what it wants to
be. Sure, there are thematic questions running underneath as the ethics of
living and dying come up but they're mired in noisy chase scenes and plenty of
running that they lose their intelligence too early on. It's a shame that Niccol
resorts to car chases to keep the audience engaged when the central conceit is
such an interesting one.
Seyfried makes a very sultry wide eyed naïf to begin with and Timberlake is
relatively straight as he tries to become an intelligent action hero (which
unfortunately he doesn't quite make), but the two just don't mix well and
there's very little chemistry on display, making Seyfried's Stockholm Syndrome a
little hard to believe in.
Granted there are some good ideas, concepts and designs here- the look and
feel particularly of the day after tomorrow works very well - but Kiwi director
Niccol doesn't seem to know what ultimately he wants to do with this film, which
is a real shame.