Some films go into things with lofty aspirations. They don’t just want to make a romantic comedy or a summer action flick. Very few actually pull it off, though. And while this is by no means a perfect film it kept me entertained all the way through.
Director Andrew Niccol has made several films that can be described as left of center. The Truman Show concerned reality vs. reality television, Gattaca was about predestiny and S1m0ne was about how celebrity has changed along with the advances in technology. Mr. Niccol likes to play the what if game it seems. He also leans towards stylish and stylized films. All this adds up to films that are not like the mass of others churned out in Hollywood.
In the future on Earth time is now the currency. Only the rich can live forever. Humans are genetically set up to age only up to the age of 25. Now that might sound good, but there is a catch…a big one. Genetically humans are only engineered to live one more year after turning 25. The countdown (literally one begins on their arms) begins. The rich can buy time while the poor scrape and toil just to add minutes to their year.
Will (Justin Timberlake – Friends With Benefits, The Social Network) lives with his mother (Olivia Wilde – from television’s House), who has just turned 50. She is 25 for the 25th time. After a day of working at a factory, Will goes to a bar. Inside there is a guy named Henry (Matt Bomer – from television’s White Collar) with over a century and is buying everyone drinks with his loads of time. Minutemen, led by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer – Beastly, I Am Number Four), come to fight him for the time. Will steps in and rescues Henry. Afterwards Henry tells Will that he is 105-years-old and feels like he has been alive too long. Henry wants to die.
While Will is sleeping Henry gives him his time except for five minutes. He then leaves a message for Will instructing him not to waste his time. Will shows his friend Borel (Johnny Galecki – from television’s The Big Bang Theory) all his time and tells him he knows the truth now. Borel warns him that all that time will get him killed. Will gives Borel a decade.
Will’s mom is racing to meet him that evening. She does not have enough time to take the bus and times out just before Will reaches her. Filled with anguish, Will has a plan and uses some time to get to New Greenwich in order to get revenge for his mother’s death. The Timekeepers, a group of time cops who make sure no one steals anyone’s time, under the command of Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy – The Dark Knight, Inception), come after Will believing he got his time through unscrupulous methods.
At a casino, Will starts playing poker. He wins a century. The man (Vincent Kartheiser – from television’s Mad Men) he won the time from introduces Will to his daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried – Mamma Mia!, Jennifer’s Body). She invites Will to a party happening the next night. The Timekeepers show up at the party and capture Will. During the questioning it comes out that Raymond knew Will’s father. Will escapes from them using Sylvia as a shield.
After returning to his hometown, Will calls Sylvia’s father and tells him to give 1,000 years to the Dayton timeline. He doesn’t do it. Sylvia begins to see how awful it is to live like the people in Dayton. Raymond is about capture Will when Sylvia shoots him. They are now on the run becoming futuristic versions of Bonnie and Clyde.
The references to films like The Matrix and Bonnie and Clyde are littered throughout the film. Part Sci Fi and part action film, In Time is not without plenty of holes in the plot, but if you are able to get beyond them there is some entertainment value. The cinematography is crisp and clean. Amanda Seyfried’s eyes are rounder and bluer than ever and everything is nice to look at. Cillian Murphy is his usual strong self as the leader of the Timekeepers.
What was frustrating was the complete lack of backstory in the film. We don’t get any explanation of the characters and how they came to be the people they are nor nothing about the whole time becoming currency thing. It becomes quite frustrating at times. It also causes Timberland and Seyfried to struggle with their characters at times.
The concept behind the film is an innovative and interesting one. No way near as confusing (or well executed) as Inception, though it has aspirations towards that end, but does fall short. No matter, I still enjoyed the watch.