In the near future, time is literally money. It is the unit of currency in a world where most humans are engineered to drop dead at 25 and must beg, steal and borrow extra minutes, hours and days to prolong their already pitiful lifespan. The rich, meanwhile, hoard the stuff like Midas meets Methuselah. Of course, everybody is in a damn hurry.
This is the premise of director Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller and what a compelling one it is, too. However, despite his best efforts to channel the cult of youth fervour of Logan’s Run and the social injustices and questions of eugenics at the heart of his own excellent movie Gattaca, you’ll find yourself clock-watching for all the wrong reasons during In Time.
Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a factory grunt who struggles to clock up enough overtime to enjoy his short life with his mother (Olivia Wilde), a woman who’s clearly done a lot of clever saving in her life. Salas finds himself gifted a cool century by a suicidal playboy with too much time on his hands and then, naturally, gets pinned with his murder.
In Time then shifts abruptly into a chase movie with our buff hero pursued by state Timekeepers headed by Cillian Murphy doing his creepy baddie act again and a band of Minutemen, a bunch of crims who steal time and act like Alex’s Droogs in A Clockwork Orange (clever reference maybe?).
This is clearly a movie with not enough time on its hands as Salas and his partner in time crime, an heiress with a Patty Hearst complex played by the incandescently gorgeous Amanda Seyfried, then turn into a futuristic Bonnie and Clyde meets Robin Hood duo, doling out extra years to the impoverished masses.
After his excellent work in The Social Network, Timberlake is not quite, well, nsync. Cillian Murphy’s sinister shtick may well be wearing, but there is a nice turn by Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser as a corporation boss with a million years in the bank.
However, despite that interesting premise, this is a waste of time. In fact, it’s 109 minutes of your life you’ll never get back.