In the future, time is the only currency we know, as every human being is genetically engineered to stop aging at 25 and start counting down toward death. Give up an hour on your internal clock to ride the bus, or give up two days to pay rent. More time can be earned, enabling the rich to live forever, while the poor struggle to survive.
In Time is certainly built on an interesting premise, but unfortunately creates more questions than it answers and crumbles under the weight of its own ambiguity. Justin Timberlake stars as Will Salas, a working-class bloke who struggles to make ends meet along with his smoking-hot mother (Olivia Wilde). Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Olivia Wilde is Justin Timberlake’s mother, which makes sense in the context of the film’s fiction, but makes for some very uncomfortable scenes when the only facial expression Wilde seems capable of is one that reads “please bone me, JT.”
After a chance encounter with a stranger that leaves Will with more than 100 years on his clock, which is immediately followed by an overly dramatic personal tragedy, Will sets his sights on New Greenwich, the wealthiest “time zone” in the country, where he intends to extract revenge from its most elite citizens. This is where the film really begins to fall apart, as narrative and character development go right out the window. Suddenly, Will is playing poker better than Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, which causes the audience to wonder where he acquired this particular skillset and why the hell he wasn’t using it to support himself all along. Things become even more ridiculous when Will is detained by the Timekeepers (a military force tasked with regulating the proper distribution of time) and transforms into Jason Bourne, beating the holy hell out of highly trained soldiers, kidnapping a financial tycoon’s daughter (Amanda Seyfried) and speeding off in a sports car.
The remainder of In Time can’t decide if it wants to be Bonnie and Clyde or Robin Hood, as will and his hostage-turned-sidekick begin stealing from her father’s vaults and distributing time amongst the less fortunate masses, all while trying to remain one step ahead of Elliot Ness — sorry, Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), the most feared and ruthless of the Timekeepers. Murphy is poorly cast here, not because of his abilities, but because no one in their right mind will be able to look at him for more than five seconds and believe he stopped aging at 25.
Writer/director Andrew Niccol tries his best to draw parallels with the current state of the world economy and the inherent evil of a system controlled by its wealthiest citizens, but the message gets lost amongst the countless chase sequences, nonexistent character development, and heavy-handed dialogue. Seyfried is unconvincing as the million dollar princess with a heart of gold who decides to help the people she’s spent her entire life walking on. Timberlake, on the other hand, does his best with the material he’s given, and certainly proves that he has enough charisma to carry an action film. It’s just a shame that it had to be this one.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10