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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

In Time | Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy | Review

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2_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn

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In Time

For the inhabitants of the sci fi fantasy “In Time” time is money... literally. Set in a world where people stop aging on their 25th birthday and are genetically engineered to live only one more year, time has taken the place of currency to pay salaries, buy every day to day necessities and luxuries and the ultimate necessity, life extension. Everyone is on the clock, or rather the clock is on them, with a balance of their time left shown ticking away in glowing green digits across their forearms. Minutes, hours, days, years and even centuries can be added or deducted to your life clock depending on whether you earn, trade, buy or steal it.

People live in gated time zones that separate the rich from the poor. This is a world where survival of the fittest rules and the rich have the potential to live forever. Oh, yes, somehow everyone is pretty or handsome. No ugly or even average Jane or John Does exists here, though no history of interfering with the beauty gene is ever mentioned.

Justin Timberlake stars as Will Salas, a 28 year old factory worker living in Dayton, referred to as the “ghetto” , where many of his class are forced to beg, steal or borrow to make it through another day and are in danger of being hunted by a gang of thugs called “Minutemen” led by handsome Fortis (Alex Pettyfour) eager to steal their precious time.

As fate would have it, Will soon connects with a mysterious stranger named Henry Hamilton (Matthew Bomer), who at the age of 105, is tired of living. He has a plan set to commit suicide, but not before gifting Will a century worth of his time. Will knows too well how valuable time is after not being able to get to his mother (gorgeous Olivia Wilde) to share some of his newly received fortune before her time ran out.

That sets the stage for the “timekeepers” to intervene. They are the police of the day who oversee the enforcement of currency exchange. When Hamilton's body is found, a timekeeper named Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy, dressed in a Matrix-like long black coat) suspects time theft and murder and targets Will. On the run, Will winds up inside the zone of the rich, New Greenwich, where he is introduced to Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried, in an auburn colored wig) the spoiled daughter of a wealthy time lender magnate named Phillip Weis (Vincent Kartheiser, of TV's Mad Men) and is forced to take her hostage after Leon comes calling. From there on, the story turns into a cat and mouse chase by car or on foot. While on the lam, the duo form a Bonnie and Clyde meets Robin Hood type partnership in which they set out to rob from time banks of the rich and give to the poor.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Simone, Lord of War) has come up with an intriguing concept, but it fails to live up to expectations and is poorly executed. Audiences are forced to suspend disbelief and ignore plotholes and ridiculous contrivances of which there are way too many. Timberlake who received rave reviews for his work in The Social Network is bland and unimpressive here, and pretty but wooden Sigfried doesn't fare much better as his requisite love interest. Neither are convincing.

Written as a timely metaphor mirroring the sentiments of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Niccol sends an anti capitalist message and political statement, blatantly attacking the inequality between the haves and the have nots. I refuse to go there, since I don't want to suffer the consequences of being considered politically incorrect.

Be that as it may, in critiquing In Time as a piece of cinematic entertainment, I can't help but consider the message Will's wealthy benefactor left for him on the window glass before he died. “Don't waste my time”, he wrote. I will pass that warning on to you. Running almost two hours, In Time was a waste of my valuable time that I can never get back.

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