Film Review: ‘In Time’ Fails to Build on Clever Idea

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CHICAGO – Andrew Niccol has delivered complex, daring science fiction before, most notably in his scripts for “The Truman Show” and “Gattaca.” Sadly, “In Time” will never be mentioned in the same breath with those films. This is a one-idea film and that one idea is poorly executed. With some of the cheesiest, surface-level dialogue of the year, a complete lack of chemistry between the leads, and some of the choppiest action editing of the year, “In Time” is a near disaster.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

Nearly every scene, line, and theme in “In Time” is based on the same relatively clever (but also kinda goofy) concept of a world in which time is literally money. It’s a good idea for the foundation of a sci-fi script but nothing is built on it. We are genetically engineered to have one year to live after we turn twenty-five. And we have a ticking clock on our arm counting down the minutes left. What makes time currency is that it doesn’t have to be a year. An individual’s time can be increased or spent and therefore becomes not only what keeps the heart ticking but what keeps society functioning as well. It becomes currency. Coffee costs four minutes. Time with a lady of the night a couple hours. A fancy new car five dozen years.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “In Time” in our reviews section.

Many people on the lower level of society wake up every morning with less than a day on their clock. They work crappy factory jobs to add a few more hours and get through another day. If they don’t work, they die. Some even fight in what is basically a variation on arm wrestling (time is passed person to person by holding wrists) to take precious time from one another. Missions hand out time when they have it. Pawnbrokers deal in it. Lenders charge interest for it. The only benefit of this drab existence seems to be that everyone looks 25 forever.

Our Logan in this variation on “Logan’s Run” is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a hard-working young man with a loving mother (Olivia Wilde) and loyal friend (Johnny Galecki). After joining the latter at a bar, Will meets a man named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who has stumbled on to the wrong side of the tracks. With over a century on his arm, Henry is not unlike someone flashing a million dollars in a blue-collar, crime-ridden neighborhood and so Will knows he’s going to get his “clock cleaned” if he doesn’t protect him. Before the Minutemen (a gang who steals time from whomever they can) grab him, Will rushes Henry to a safe place.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “In Time” review.

“In Time” stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, Vincent Kartheiser, and Alex Pettyfer. It was written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It was released on October 28th, 2011.

In Time
In Time
Photo credit: Fox

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