Monday, November 14, 2011


CAST:Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Galecki, Matt Bomer, Olivia Wilde, Vincent Kartheiser;DIRECTOR:Andrew Niccol;WRITER:Andrew Niccol;FILM PRODUCER:Amy Israel, Eric Newman, Kristel Laiblin, Marc Abraham;GENRE:Crime/Gangster / Sci-fi / Thriller;RUNNING TIME:110 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  2.5
Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

It is 2061.  People have been genetically altered to stop aging at 25 and then to live one more year.  Unless they can trade—buy or sell, spend or earn—the time they have left to live, they will be timed off at age 26.  Time is their only currency; they pay for daily needs with the time they have; and they earn time as payment for their work.  One could die betting his entire time in a casino; one could also win a thousand years or more by gambling.  Twenty-eight year-old Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives an ordinary hand-to-mouth existence with his mother Rachel Salas (Olivia Wilde) in the ghetto where people die everyday for lack of opportunities to extend their life.  One night Will saves the life of a 105-year old rich man Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who is tired of living anyway and so transfers his remaining 106 years to Will while he’s asleep.  With over a century to spend, Will decides to see how the rich in another time zone live.  There he beats the casino dealer, the 95-year-old time-lending businessman Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), father of 27-year-old Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), and there starts a mad gamble for time.
It is an intriguing premise that In Time offers, teasing the imagination to create scenarios of immortality.  There may be many loopholes in the filming but these are more than compensated by the fascinating ideas peddled by writer-director Andrew Niccol.  It is engaging, to say the least, as one possibility follows another in the ways time is used as currency.  The time that remains of a person’s life is measured in 13 digits representing years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds that flash like a luminous digital clock on the forearm.  For instance, a bus ride could cost you two hours; a cup of coffee, four hours; a fancy car, 59 years, and so on.  But you could live to a million years if you’re a shrewd time-lender like Weis, or a ruthless robber who at gunpoint steal time from people.  How does time pass hands?  Simply by arm-to-arm contact.  Your life practically ticks away by the second; once you reach 13 zeroes, you’re gone.
This is sci-fi that you can take seriously for the subject matter is not science per se but mortality and the human desire to be immortal.  The message is underscored in the dialogue between ghetto boy Will Salas and the centenarian from the opulent side of the fence Henry Hamilton.  What would you do if you were in Hamilton’s shoes?  Is it all right to give your time to time-thieves if you think you’ve seen it all and wouldn’t want to live longer?  Is it okay to rob the rich in order to give to the poor?  If you had the choice would you want to live forever?  The most profound character in In Time,Henry Hamilton, says in effect: “There comes time when you tell yourself it’s enough… your body doesn’t age (he’s been 25 for 80 years) but your mind does, and that’s tiring… everybody wants to be immortal but to be immortal you must die…”  In Timewill fascinate young and old alike but you’ll get the full benefit if you close your eyes to its flaws and stay sober  while enjoying it.