In a world where money is gone and time is used as currency, the rich are now literally sucking the life from the poor. This is the premise of In Time, a dystopian film starring everyone’s favourite Backstreet Boy Justin Timberlake. And Olivia Wilde plays his mom. Yes, that is not a typo.
The premise alone is interesting enough to draw your attention to the film pretty quickly. I wouldn’t say the story is unpredictable, but its unpredictable enough to be an enjoyable watch. The characters are likable, though the casting is a little off. Its hard to buy JT as a poor joe living in the slums. It feels like that character should be a lot tougher. His character is also a little off-putting when he will inexplicably turn into Jason Bourne every once in a while. Amanda Seyfred, though very enticing in lingerie, is a little flat on line delivery. Despite this, I didn’t have too much difficulty going along with their story.
The real problem with In Time is that the world it is set in is not thought through all too well. There are a lot of gaps and a lot of things which simply don’t make sense. For one thing, there seems to be no basis in biology for how this world can work. Its a bit of a stretch to be able to program EVERY cell in your body to die at a specified time. Not only that, but the transferring time through wrists is just baffling. How are you ale to will these life-controlling cells to pass through a certain spot on your skin and enter the other persons body? Its completely nonsensical, even in the most extreme assumptions about genetic engineering.
Now, I know that we as the audience are supposed to just accept the possibility of it and move on. But I can’t, not just as someone who studied the life sciences, but also as a filmgoer. Futuristic premises like these need some basis in realism and some measure of scientific possibility.
Anyway, that’s not the point of the movie. The point is that the poor people are forced to live like slaves as the rich are able to live for hundreds of years because of an unfair economic model. This is the true message of the film. And believe me, they bash you over the head with this message time and time again. The socio-economic divide is certainly an issue ripe for exploration in films, and some can say that its a timeless theme actually, but SOME level of subtlety may have helped.
Okay, I’m being pretty harsh here, because despite all these flaws in the movies structure, I did still have fun with it. As a basic run-from-the-law story its well done (there is a poker scene which is particularly intense), and as I stated previously the characters are likable. I was planning to even give it a 7/10, but with all the problems it has with its foundations I have to downgrade it to a 6/10.