The concept behind “In Time” is actually fairly interesting, and maybe that’s why I was willing to overlook some of the film’s shortcomings. In a dystopian ultra-classist 2169, people stop aging at 25, and living any longer than that requires you to literally buy time. Extra time seems to come from just one extra strong and special handshake.
Such a kind of transfer begs the question of why people don’t just go steal it from the rich people why they sleep. Or why people don’t just use tight grips or shake with superglue. Needless to say, the broad strokes of inspiration blinded writer/director Andrew Niccol to the many plot holes in this world.
Watching the movie from a post-Occupy world certainly highlights this extreme case of social inequity as the rich live forever and the poor die young. From my sociology classes in college, I can tell you that inequality is corrosive for society and poverty is quite literally a lethal force. ”In Time” is very conscious of these things and holds an interesting mirror up to the audience watching the film.
Sadly, that mirror is fogged up by some sloppy storytelling and a plot that ultimately can’t sustain beyond the novelty of the “time as life” concept. The characterization is decent, but the cast of good looking actors who can still pass for 25 – including Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, and Alex Pettyfer – don’t do much to elevate the material. The intelligence of the social commentary ultimately gives way to a fairly standard action film, but the themes raised in the beginning are enough to make me feel that “In Time” was not entirely wasted time. B- /