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In Time

A movie directed by Andrew Niccol

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"Time" is the Root of All Evil In This Alternate World....

  • Oct 30, 2011
In the beginning, I had high hopes for the film “In Time”. Partly because it was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, responsible for the cult hit “Gattaca” and also because he wrote “The Truman Show”. Ok, perhaps, his resume is less than stellar since he also wrote the less than impressive “Simone” and “Lord of War”. Be that as it may, his films always have an interesting premise and “In Time” was everything I expected. It is too bad that my expectations weren’t too high after reading several reviews here, but at the very least, the film is a good diversion for those not expecting too much.

Originally titled "Now" and "I'm.mortal", the film is about an alternate world with an odd 'standard' of living. "To like “In Time”, you have to let go of any sci-fi sensibilities and expectations you may have since the film doesn’t explain much in regards to this alternate world. Here in this alternate world, there is no statement whether it occurs in a future or not, but rather, what happens is just the way things have always been. The viewer is taken to a world where the common line of credit or purchase is one’s own lifetime. You buy goods and services with time and you get paid ‘in time’. The rich get richer and they become almost immortal, no sickness or disease, but people can be killed by a fatal accident or a gunshot wound. One begins to use their ‘time’ when they reach the age of 25 and they hardly age after that; in this world you can stay young even when you are a century old. Regular people are afforded a running clock and are given a year to live to avoid overpopulation. The rich, well, because of their wealth in time, can possibly live forever. Believe me, I am not spoiling anything here since it can all be seen in the trailer. 

              Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in "In Time."

              Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia in ``In Time.''

This is the world where Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, The Social Network) lives with his 50-year old mother (played by gorgeous Olivia Wilde, Cowboys and Aliens), they work to earn a day or two. One evening, Will comes across a wealthy man called Henry Hamilton (Matt Borner) in their poor area and he has more than a hundred years on his clock. Saving him from the “minutemen”, a group who steals ‘time’, Will is suddenly bestowed upon a marvelous gift. He now has more than a century on his clock and he intends to use this to change his life. But things are much more complicated as the “Time Keepers”, a FBI-like agency is now hot on his trail with their top agent Leon (Cillian Murphy) becoming obsessed with our little Will Salas. Will flees and with a young rebellious rich kid called Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer’s Body), they intend to make a statement in this time-driven society…

            Vincent Kartheiser as Philippe Weis, Justin Timberlake as Will Salas and Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia in ``In Time.''

            A scene from ``In Time.''

I am not really sure what Niccol’s intentions were when he wrote the script for this film. It starts out real interesting, as the film presents a world where it appears quite ‘In Time” in our world. I saw a strong scathing commentary as to how the rich seems to control our world, only instead of $$, their fortune is measured in minutes and seconds. We all see the powerful potential in the film, the poor are driven to survive while whatever they earn is just a mere piece of the pie. Inflation is a way to curb the population, while in our world, inflation causes the dollar to be deflated of its value slowly. Its subtle but strong commentary on how the wealthy's lives are much more important than those less fortunate are rich in the film and it made me think in our world, that starvation is still running rampant . A theme of ‘takes money to make money’ and in this case, it takes time to make time to gain opportunity. Niccol also gives out a social commentary as to how people tend to become greedy, and that it would be better if people did share. It is like the poor was actually giving a piece of their life per purchase. I know there is a subtle message about socialism around the film, and how the social order must remain intact, but it really isn’t important after this point. I know taking the phrase "time is money" literally and the concept of "Money equals time equals to stealing a life" being taken to extremes may be a little heavy-handed, the first half of the film had a lot to say.

To keep things safe, and to merely express the idea of the rest its concept, Niccol uses a similar “Bonnie and Clyde” kind of deal represented by Will and Sylvia. Much as I found the film entertaining, it loses a lot of its mind-bending potential to the sensibilities of an action thriller. In doing so, it barely scratches the surface of what it had established in the first half. Will and Sylvia race against time to keep their lives and to upset the social order. The film has some intense moments, but I thought it couldn’t really maintain its groundwork for too long before it began to feel redundant. Much of the film’s second half becomes a chase film, and the potential thought-provoking themes felt abandoned as if the film was re-written to fit mainstream tastes. It is all pretty exciting and glamorous, as we see our duo play the “Robin Hood” act with a cop on their tail, but it just missed the opportunity to further develop this alternate world. I feel that the film had am amazing premise and it never did anything with it. I am not saying the film took a major U-turn, but it was rather obvious that the direction felt a little too safe since it sent mixed messages around its established groundwork.

                  Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake in "In Time."

                 In Time 2011 Movie Poster and Wallpapers

                 In Time 2011 Movie Poster and Wallpapers

I guess what hurt the film was the lack of emotional depth for the two protagonists. I mean, Timberlake’s character was the better written of the two, but Sylvia’s development was a little too convenient. I mean, I understand the common H-wood staple about liking your kidnapper when it comes to righteous goals, but I felt that the film shamelessly underwrote Seyfried’s character. The two struggled to make a connection and the chemistry was a little too forced (I noticed some issues that could’ve been re-writes). Cillian Murphy’s character was the one thing that kept things interesting during the second half as he didn’t behave like a normal timekeeper; like an Omega watch he knew how to keep up and play closer to the edge. The performers were ok, but there really isn't anything complex about the script after the first half.

That said, the alternate world of “In Time” (not our own world but rather a mirror image of ours) looks almost the same; it operates the same, and the buildings and vehicles looked almost the same. It does use the classic muscle car look for cop cars, and limousines looked like the ones we see in the 60’s-70's almost having that 'retro look'; the same with the costumes. Niccol is in very familiar ground in this world, and fans of “Gattaca” would notice the similarities in the set designs and cinematography.

“In Time” is a film that could only be described as “strong” in the first half, and then it manages a shift in tone by falling into a ‘by the numbers’ type of storytelling that we’ve all seen before. It wasn’t so much as the climax was unsatisfying or predictable (ok, maybe a little), but I felt that the film lost its guts after its first half. Which was too bad, the film had enormous ambition and potential; but it played it a little too safe to go all the way. “In Time” becomes an average popcorn entertainment at best.

Timid Recommendation, RENTAL is advisable [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "In Time." Poster art for "In Time."


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November 08, 2011
I agree....a little. I liked the Sci-Fi Robin Hood aspect of this film and really, how can you fake chemistry with JT? Impossible! But, I agree that Seyfried was underwritten and stereotypical- oh poor little rich girl, bored with all the time to do whatever she wants but, prisoner to her wealth falls in love with the rebellious boy from the other side of the tracks blah blah blah. She seemed quite ready to leave her family behind as well. Olivia Wilde did well with the small role that she had and I also liked the first half better than the second. Great review as always, Woo!
November 09, 2011
thanks, Sam, I have to say this wasn't as bad as most cirtics have said. Yeah, it wasn't anything special and the potentials weren't realized, but overall, I feel that I didn't waste my time watching it and it was entertaining in many ways.
October 31, 2011
I was wondering about this, great review.
November 01, 2011
thanks for the continuous follow of my reviews, Alex....
October 31, 2011
Timberlake is to me what garlic is to vampires. I'm staying away... far away.
November 01, 2011
admit it, you used to collect his cd's which is why you can't stand him now...LOL! Not even for Seyfried?
November 02, 2011
Hell no, I never got into the boy bands. They came out right around 1998 or 1999 and at that point I was listening to almost nothing but old school punk and metal. All I can say is, thank the universe for bands like Korn!
November 02, 2011
LOL! heck yeah for KORN!!
October 31, 2011
I'm not a huge Sci-fi fan, but again with your reviews, you've proven that movies I shouldn't like sound interesting enough that I may like it! I'm not a Timberlake fan either, but this review tugs at my curiosity. Thanks Woo!!!
October 31, 2011
Thanks for the read, Brenda. This is a curious movie and I would be interested as to what your thoughts would be on it. Not a fan of Timberlake, but I am of Seyfried and Wilde ;)
More In Time (2011 film) reviews
review by . November 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Interesting, just in time for the last few review on Lunch! I must be one of the last few people to catch this in the cinema in Hong Kong! Even my visiting uncle from Toronto had seen it before I did!   Never mind, In Time is just as interesting for the first to see as it is for the last. Provided you didn't cheat and know what the whole premise of the movie is all about. I like it for its conceptual thinking and the fact that it's based on something entirely different from our current …
review by . November 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In Time is a Sci Fi Robin Hood tale set in a futuristic looking 1960s. Time is money, literally and once everyone hits 25, their clocks start ticking down. Each person is given a year to live but, you can buy or win more time. You don't age past 25 which makes for confusing introductions (is it a grandpa, uncle, dad, or hot guy across the bar?). The rich have all the time in the world whereas the poor live day to day with a daily hike in taxes and costs of living in order to maintain a steady …
review by . October 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
It is said that time is money and in the new film "In Time" this statement takes on an entirely new meaning. In the future we learn that humans have been genetically created to stop aging at the age of 25. Once they reach this selected age, a clock starts to count down from one year. People can obtain more time via work, stealing it from others, or being gifted more time but once their clock hits zero, they expire or "Time Out" as it is called.     As the film opens, we are introduced …
review by . March 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    It's the year 2161, and genetic engineering has turned cash and coin money into time; as literal as can be. How much of it you have it kept on a glowing, green countdown-like clock on your wrist; and when you run out of time, you also run out of life. So in other words, you die. This is a problem for the lower class people - the homeless, the poor, the unhealthy - but those of profound wealth need not worry, for they may replenish their time as often as they …
review by . October 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Review: 'In Time' 'Two Jews On Film' Agree...Don't Waste Your Time (Video)
      By Joan Alperin-Schwartz      'In Time' is a sci/fi thriller written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca)...Maybe that's the problem. You know what they say about wearing too many hats...      Okay, when the film begins, we discover that we are now in the future....A future where you stop aging at 25...(Guess that put a big dent in the Botox industry). Your mother, sister, grandmother, grandfather etc, …
review by . October 28, 2011
The movie begins with a decent enough premises for the sci-fi universe and definitely has enough potential to feel like it could be something special. It was written and directed by Andrew Niccol who also wrote Gattaca and The Truman Show so the man is no stranger to the bizarre. Niccol’s future enjoys a very glossy look with a vintage touch; he has also envisioned a future full of attractive people. It is all very fitting because In Time concerns itself more …
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About this movie


Poster art for "In Time."In Time, previously titled Now and I'm.mortal, is a 2011 science fiction thriller film starring Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, and Vincent Kartheiser. The film, written and directed by Andrew Niccol, was released on October 28, 2011.

Although In Time is set in the future, the film contains many retro influences. Most of these influences are from the early 1960's to late 1970's, with a bit of 1980's thrown in. For instance, many vehicles used for the film are actually 1960's and 1970's models, but heavily modified to make them look futuristic. Furthermore, a lot of buildings, both interior and exteriors, display retro influences as well. For example, Dayton, the ghetto, in which the main character was raised, was heavily influenced by hip-hop culture from the 1980's, although some parts of Dayton are influenced by the 1960's, while New Greenwich, a large city, in which Will's girlfriend, Sylvia Weis, lives contains buildings that resembles 1960's architecture. The film's characters also wear retro-futuristic clothing.

  • In Time
  • Opened October 28, 2011 | Runtime:1 hr. 55 min.
  • PG-13
    Violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
  • Information for parents: Common Sense Media says Iffy for 13+. Read More
  • In a future where time is money and the wealthy can live forever, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a poor man who rarely has ...
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Director: Andrew Niccol
Screen Writer: Andrew Niccol
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes

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