In Time

Youth worshipper - Your wife, mother, dad and husband all look like your classmates. Better hurry!

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge Puppy love: Seyfried and Timberlake in In - Time.
Puppy love: Seyfried and Timberlake in InTime.

In Time

 

C

In Time presents an unspecified future where time is money: You want a latte? That'll be four minutes off your life. Want that sports car? Six months. People in this dystopia stop physically aging at 25; your wife, your mother and your girlfriend all look like classmates. Yet this comes at the cost of a neon countdown timer implanted in your arm; a beast that has to be fueled with credits to continue running. Everything in this genetically perfected society runs on an egg timer of social Darwinism; you can stay young and beautiful forever, but only if you have the means.

This is a delightfully complex high-concept idea is clumsily wrapped around chase-movie gear-works then used to bludgeon the audience with manufactured thrills. Similarities abound with the '70s cheeseball sci-fi spectacular Logan's Run, which also involved a pair of photogenic outlaws rebelling against a lethally youth-obsessed society, though sadly this one doesn't involve monorails, lycra jumpsuits or ray guns. Instead, we have a faintly futuristic slum that looks just like some of the grungier parts of Los Angeles, but is called "Dayton." Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is one disgruntled resident, a factory drone living day-by-day (literally), until he rescues a wealthy man from thugs. This kindly stranger has had far too much of the good life, and grants Will with a bonus century before committing suicide by jumping into the same concrete river basin John Travolta drag-raced in Grease.

The local thugs, and Cillian Murphy's hard-driving inspector, can't believe Will's sudden good fortune, and he's soon in a desperate race to keep one step ahead of the forces that won't cut a poor kid a break. His improvised escape plan involves breaking into the guarded rich folks' zone, then kidnapping a millionaire's daughter (Amanda Seyfried) and heading out on the lam. Together they become a sort of Versace-ad Bonnie and Clyde, liberating banks, and spreading the pilfered minutes around to the poor, in order to overturn civilization's rotten applecart.

Talk about good timing: The movie's proletariat revolt and economic-justice message dovetails beautifully with the current Occupy phenom. Too bad the provocative theme and power-to-the-people message is overridden by action beats and chase movie tropes that involve absurd coincidences happening roughly every seven minutes.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol got more mileage out of the eugenically perfect world of haves and have-nots in the semi-classic Gattaca, but here he runs out of time to explain his theme. Stiff acting and storytelling shortcuts undermine a clever concept. After an intriguing first half, you'll probably be checking your watch.

Scroll to read more Movies articles

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.