Singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake returns to the screen with the sci-fi thriller “In Time,” his first non-romantic comedy role since “The Social Network.”
After seeing the initial trailers for this film, I found the allegory of time as literal money was a very thought-provoking and profound concept.
This is a sci-fi movie that has the potential to be really great.
If the writers don’t try to convolute the plot too much or if the acting isn’t downright terrible, this could possibly be the best film since “Inception.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.
This film’s premise seemed very promising. However, the finished product does not deliver in the way that “Inception” did.
The whole “time is money” idea turned out to be the only somewhat original idea that “In Time” had to offer.
Everything else about it was cliché material we’ve seen a thousand times before.
In the movie’s created world, people are granted 25 years of life. After that, their internal clock begins, and they only have one more year to figure out a way to buy more time. In this world, people do not age past 25, unless they do not have the funds to stay alive.
The rich have little concerns. They are virtually immortal because they have access to as much time as they want.
If they cannot find work, the poor simply run out of time.
Timberlake plays Will Salas, a down-and-out factory worker who works all day just to earn enough hours to survive until the next day. As the cost of living goes up, the amount of time paid for work goes down.
Then, he crosses paths with a wealthy stranger named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer). Hamilton ends up in the wrong part of town, and because of it, he finds himself in trouble. People in the ghetto would kill him in a heartbeat just to steal all his time, which happens to be over a century. Salas makes the decision to help Hamilton, and they escape.
A chase ensues, but the two men find their way to safety. The scene that follows is meant to be a heartfelt and philosophical dialogue between Hamilton and Salas. Hamilton says he’s lived long enough, and just wants life to end. He asks Salas what he would do if he had over a century, like him. “I sure as hell wouldn’t waste it,” he responds.
This is supposed to be one of the pivotal moments of this movie; however, the lines seem so completely telegraphed and predictable that it’s hard to take seriously.
Regardless of that fact, something Salas said the night before seemed to inspire Hamilton enough to give him all but five minutes of his time.
With all his newfound time, Salas decides to go to the city. He promised his mother they would go there one day, and they never got the chance, so it only seemed natural to do it now.
This is where he meets Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of undeniably one of the world’s richest men, Philippe Weis (played by Vincent Kartheiser of “Mad Men”).
At first, Salas does exactly what he said he wouldn’t; he wastes Hamilton’s time.
He stays in extravagant hotels, buys a ridiculous car and gambles. He attracts the attention of a corrupt police force, known as the “timekeepers.”
They begin to chase him on the premise of a phony kidnapping charge.
“In Time” really isn’t a completely horrible movie; it had its brief moments.
However, it is miserably disappointing when viewers consider the brilliance of the plot, and how much better it could have been if the screenplay had matched up to that brilliance.
The film’s director and other staff members were sued a few weeks ago by sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison, who claims the writers stole the material from his short story, “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman.”
I’ve never read his story, but if I were Ellison, I’d be a little upset too. They took a premise that was golden and flushed it down the toilet.