IN TIME [2011] movie review

February 10, 2012 · Print This Article

I wonder if IN TIME makes rich people feel as uncomfortable as poor people.  Belonging to the latter group, it was uncomfortably easy to be able to relate to constantly watching the clock.  In the world created by writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) people stop physically aging at 25 years old, and then, with a jolt, each person’s clock stops.  They have to start working to earn time in order to live.  Time is literally the currency.

The introduction and setup to the world of IN TIME is very interesting.  Like all good sci-fi, very little of the origins of the world are explained.  We never know how or when things switched to a time based life, nor how the glowing green clock is written into a person’s DNA or even exactly how time is added or subtracted.  I have always been a clock watcher.  This kind of life seems natural, and extraordinarily stressful since many people live with only 24 hours to spare, meaning you cannot sleep in much!

I liked how the value of time is established.  A kid on the street asks for a minute, a cup of coffee used to be 3 minutes and now is 4.  A bus ride costs 2 hours.  Quantifying the value of time helps the viewer understand the world of IN TIME.  So when Justin Timberlake’s character, Will, encounters someone in a bar with a century of time, we know it’s like a person flashing a million bucks around.

As long as the clock on a person’s arm has time, life is indefinite, possibly even immortal.  Will learns from the man with the century left that even though the body at 100 years old is fine, the mind may not necessarily be.  This leads Will into the gated life of New Greenich where everyone has decades on their clocks, and need it because one night in a hotel room costs 2 months.

Niccol does a good job of establishing this part of the world as well and reveals that though these people do not need to hustle for existence, they live so carefully not to die from accident, that they do not even swim in the ocean.

Of course Will cannot smoothly make his way in the world of the time rich.  The movie changes gears into a fugitive on the run as Will kidnaps the daughter ( played by Amanda Seyfried ) of the richest man in town.

The driving force of the movie is that characters are constantly at the mercy of the clock on there arm, like having a ticking time bomb strapped to them.  The biggest question raised by IN TIME asks is it really necessary for there to be so many poor and so few rich in order for society to function?  If time (money) were more evenly distributed, who there be those as the movie suggests who will still want to live forever?


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