4YE’s Big Movie Binge: In Time (2011)

Credit: Regency

The concept of time is something I’ve visited previously in this binge. Looper dealt with the concept of time in the way Doctor Who does. In Time does something completely different and quite interesting with the concept of “time”, something that has never been done before and this alone is what makes the film so intriguing.

In the near future, humans are genetically engineered to never age a day over twenty-five. Once they hit the age of twenty-five, they are given one year of time to pay bills, to pay for food, to pay for, everything. In this world, time is currency. The poor live day to day while the rich are immortal. Some rich people have thousands of years on their clock. For Will Salas (Timberlake) and his mom (Olivia Wilde), every day is a struggle and they barely have time to make ends meet. When Will saves Harry Hamilton (Matt Bomber), a man with over a century on his clock and who’s already lived over a century from Minutemen, he is told the truth of “time” and how he can help the poor people receive more of it. Harry gives Will his century and “times out” before Will can do anything. With his newfound time and with Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) on his trail, Will and hostage turned accomplice Sylvia Weiss (Amanda Seyfried) devise a plan to steal time to give to the poor, disrupting the system that’s killed so many people.

I can honestly say that this film surprised me, especially with its concept. It was daring and exciting in a way that I didn’t think dystopian sci-fi thriller could be. Granted this is no Looper and the writing wasn’t the strongest it could be, it did have some moments that made it enjoyable overall. The film also had a nice concept of time and a firm grasp of it that didn’t make the story confusing or weak. In fact, the idea was strong, the writing simply lacked. It’s the writing that made In Time a bit slow at the beginning. Once Sylvia fully committed to being a time robber, it was enjoyable and tense. The action scenes saved the film. That and Cillian Murphy.

Bless Justin Timberlake, he attempted to act and surprisingly held his own against Seyfried. Once he was up against Murphy, however, the different levels of talent were obvious. While I have no doubt that the casting directors thought Timberlake was the best person for the role of Will Salas. I have to wonder why they cast someone with as much magnetism as Murphy has against him. Murphy’s Timekeeper Raymond was the most interesting character in the film. He wasn’t given enough substance to be fleshed out as fully as he should have. I think I would have been perfectly content to watch a version of In Time where Raymond was the main character. I think it would have been a much stronger film.

Despite main character issues and a rather weak script, In Time was very enjoyable. In its way, it didn’t fall into a typical heist film or action film formula. At least, I didn’t think it did. It can stand on its own as a film that deals with a concept that hasn’t been done before in Hollywood. For me, that was enough to keep me interested.

Shelby Arnold
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