In the future, people are engineered (don’t ask me how) to stop aging at twenty-five, but once your twenty-fifth birthday hits, the clock on your arm starts counting down with only a year to live. The good news is the world’s currency is now time, so when you get paid, it adds to your clock. The bad news is the rich and powerful have usurped the system to their advantage so they can potentially live forever. When Will Salas crosses paths with a stranger who has over a century left on his clock, he’s told the truth and then given the extra time to do something about it.
The quest for immortality by way of greed, vanity and murder…and the clock is ticking. Essentially, the world is now overrun with vampires whose fuel for survival is no longer blood, but time. No, this isn’t some sort of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE type BLADE spinoff, but the idea of living forever, never physically aging beyond twenty-five and sucking people dry via the timers on their arms does feel a touch like vampirism to me. IN TIME is Hollywood’s latest “high concept” futuristic thriller, something we see in singles and doubles from Hollywood every three or four years. Most of these films do quite well by my standards, MINORITY REPORT, BLADE RUNNER, I ROBOT, THE MATRIX, to name a few, but every now and again we get a dud that just doesn’t push the envelope or worse, ends up sporting more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. IN TIME, though interesting and thought provoking on some levels, is hindered by both those problems. At times, painfully so.
Firstly, I dig the idea of time becoming our currency, but there are some questions surrounding this premise that seriously need addressing but instead get shrugged off with a “I don’t remember how this started” cop out. I love it when they do that. Okay, so I can let that one go. I can even look past the awesome but high unlikely fact that people stop physically aging at twenty-five, but common sense just starts pounding in my head when they try to sell me on the idea that time can be transferred from one person’s clock to another by simply grasping each other by the arm. Sooo, the clock is triggered by a consensual telepathic bond between two people? Nope, that’s not it, because you can steel or give time while one of the two people are unconscious. This paragraph could go on and on folks as this one tidbit is means for a long debate, and this is just one of many reasons you’ll be scratching your head as you watch the film.
One of the other pivotal questions on people’s minds is “does JT have what it takes to lead the show?” Personally, I don’t mind Justin Timberlake, he’s by no means the best musical entertainer turned movie star, but I’ve seen much, much worse. He carried himself well here, I loved the all-in poker game for time. It was short but for a second there (no pun intended) it felt a little like CASINO ROYAL as the whole setup to this scene was very Bond-esque. This however, was the highlight of the film, that and Cillian Murphy. His presence here made the film much more tolerable than if some lesser actor had filled the role. The Timekeepers weren’t all that impressive, and I didn’t care for where Murphy’s storyline took him (also a very strange and debatable plot point). I liked Alex Pettyfer’s gangster minute man persona, but again, where it leads is a letdown, not by the scene itself but by the ridiculous arm-wrestling type duel to death situation both characters are drawn into. This concept, referred to a couple times in the film as “fighting” is quite weak and will only make you roll your eyes. If Stallone can make an entire film out arm wrestling (OVER THE TOP), making it adrenaline fused and exciting, then I think they could’ve done something a little better with this idea.
IN TIME is yet another Sci-Fi flick with cool ideas but no steam, intelligence, heart or common sense to properly nurture them, thus they come off dull, rushed and most of all lazy. Amanda Seyfried is a good actress and with the exception of RED RIDING HOOD I love all her work. That said, no matter how hot you are or how great your body looks in tight clothes, there’s no way on God’s green earth that any woman can run full tilt (and they do a lot of running) in high heel pumps. It’s impossible and a slap in the face to anyone with half a brain. This film could’ve been great (like FREE JACK, a film whose endgame was also immortality) and I sincerely hate to pick it apart like this as I always go in with an open mind, but when there’s this much there for the picking it’s exceedingly difficult to enjoy what could’ve and should’ve been. Save your money folks, this one’s a rental.