‘In Time’ tells original, entertaining sci-fi tale


Moviegoers will be pleased with In Time, which premiered Oct. 28.

By By: Natasha Palance, Staff Writer

Time is of the essence in the new sci-fi allegorical action thriller, In Time, which leaves audience members sitting on the edge of their seats and pondering the ever imbalanced social and wealth system in society.

The film takes off from an intriguing premise that’s shrewd, fun, original and timely in every sense. It’s both clever and unsettling, but manages to keep the action alive.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol, the film is set in a future where human beings are genetically programmed to stop aging at age 25. The catch is, they live only one more year, unless they happen to be wealthy enough to add more time to their personal clocks. “Time is the currency,” Justin Timberlake’s character explains during voiceover in the picture’s opening minutes. “The rich can live forever.”

So the over-25s in this grim new world — those who weren’t lucky enough to be born into lives of luxury and privilege — scramble to add minutes and hours to their lives, which are recorded on ever-ticking meters that glow on the inside of their forearms like radioactive tattoos.The poor live in a tumbledown ghetto called Dayton, while the rich carelessly fritter away hours, days and years on the sunnier side of the tracks in a gleaming, swanky community known as New Greenwich.

One night, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, The Social Network) rescues a rich, handsome stranger from a bar brawl. It turns out the stranger, Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer, White Collar), is 105 and has had enough. After a deeply philosophical conversation about using time wisely and for good and not evil, Henry bequeaths his life to Will, a gift that attracts the unwelcome attention of a “timekeeper,” a cop named Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy, Inception) who suspects Will of murder.

Justin Timberlake continues to demonstrate that he is a real actor with screen presence. However, after the precise timing and intelligence he brought to The Social Network, it’s a little disappointing to find him in a role that requires less.

In Timehas so much style and energy that it comes across as an act of boldness rather than just a liberal-minded movie.

The movie is about as subtle as a foghorn, and for audience members who typically ask rational questions about plot (such as “Why isn’t time-theft more rampant?” or “How would anyone agree to this horrifying financial system in the first place?”), this flick might drive them nuts.

The grand simplicity of the metaphor is a big part of In Time’s oddly retro sci-fi charm. Niccol is practicing the old-school craft of making an alternate reality that forces viewers to think about the way society consensually agrees to participate in systems-even when those systems are hopelessly screwed up.

While the film is far from perfect, it contains within it enough ideas and action to make it a perfectly passable piece of popcorn entertainment. Not expecting Oscar nods, audience members can find the movie a solid and exciting, if a little silly, piece of sci-fi blockbuster entertainment.