Occupy Wall Streeters and advocates would probably like In Time since it is
a perfect illustration of what they’re protesting against-the ever growing divide between
the haves and the have-nots. The difference is, your physical, not economic livelihood
hangs in the precarious balance, creating a blistering, desperate condition in a world
where you must fight to survive every minute. If this were to happen, even the right wing
Tea Partiers would be protesting.
Capitalizing on his trademark genre of artificial reality, New Zealander director
Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show and Gattaca) furnishes us with yet another frighten-
ing vision of our future set in the latter half of this century. A future where time is now
the currency and everyone stops aging at 25(isn’t that nice?). The latter does have a
catch. Since you are genetically engineered to live one more year after 25, you must “buy”
more time to keep yourself alive past then; sort of what was supposed to happen to the
underground denizens in the 70’s film, Logan’s Run through something called Carousel.
NSYNC alum turned actor Justin Timberlake is Will Salas, a working class stiff
struggling to earn just enough time to live another day or a little less than 24 hours. Like
everyone, he must constantly check the solid green colored time clock embedded on his
left forearm from birth. Every second is time wasted. And no one can afford that. His ef-
forts to be sort of an altruistic everyman are challenged at times , besides knowing that
the economics of the system can be harsh, but he manages to grudgingly accept what the
world has become.
Bars still exist in this tainted future, and Salas wastes no time meeting his friend
Borel( a very scruffy looking Johnny Galecki), for a drink after work. Here they encoun-
ter Henry Hamilton, a man with over a century on his clock. A man in the wrong place at
the wrong time. Salas helps him escape when a band of time “thugs” led by I Am Num-
Four’s Alex Pettyfer, eye him as a savory target to steal from and attempt to barter for
the time; so a mad chase inevitably ensues.
“If you had as much time as I have, what would you do with it?”, Hamilton poses
to Salas after they seal themselves up in an abandoned factory. They’ve had a very inter-
esting, thought provoking talk on life, eternity and immortality- and their both tired from
that chase. Salas gives the proper response, “Sure as hell wouldn’t waste it.” and awakens
from a much needed sleep to find that Hamilton has transferred all his time to his clock.
Except for five minutes which gives him just enough time to commit suicide.
Despite this sudden turn of fortune, Salas’ mom (Olivia Wilde) is more precious
than time itself. Consequently, he faces his biggest challenge when she, because of a
crucial lapse of time, falls dead in his arms while running frantically to make a rendez-
vous at the bus stop to celebrate her “50th” birthday. It’s too late for him to transfer
more time to her to keep her alive and Salas’ anguish immediately channels a burning
vendetta inside of him to change this unfair system.
Niccol’s dialogue bogs down in some places where it is immediately compensated
for by Salas’ self promotion to the upper class area, avoiding a relentless time keeper
(Cillian Murphy) and to top it all off, kidnapping a rich man’s daughter(Amanda Sey-
fried) from her palatial mansion. Life changes when you decide to rebel against the status
quo, doesn’t it?
The compulsory romance between Timberlake’s Salas and Seyfried’s Sylvia Weis
serves as a perfect raison d’être for them to eventually join forces to bring down the sys-
tem. Both exude a “Bonnie and Clyde” type chemical energy that drives In Time forward.
Seyfried’s acting talents have especially come of age since her “Mean Girl” days, with a
mature performance that more than matches Timberlake’s
Within an alternative reality where time is power that drives all people and not “all
that mean green” as lauded by The Beatles, In Time’s compelling, provocative look at life
itself makes us speculate how we would use the time we have on this earth more wisely
if we could see every day, just how long we have to live.