In Time * * 1/2

Genre: Action Thriller

Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol

Cast: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cilian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Vincent Kartheiser

Running Length: 110 minutes

Synopsis: In Time is set in a world where time has replaced money as the universal currency. The wealthy have accumulated thousands of years, allowing them to live forever, while the poor beg, borrow, and steal enough minutes to make it through the day. In this world, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is one of the unlucky ones, waking up every morning with 23 hours left on his ticking clock, and the knowledge that if he doesn't earn enough time, he won't live to see tomorrow. But Will's fortune takes an unexpected turn when a wealthy stranger turns up dead, and Will finds himself 100 years richer. Now the prime suspect for the man's murder, Will is on the run, with the help of a beautiful young woman (Amanda Seyfried), who is the only one who believes he is innocent.

Review: It’s a fascinating concept – what if time is the only currency we trade in? Andrew Niccol takes this idea to an extreme in In Time, and whilst this is a slick, entertaining action thriller that’s extremely apt for this era we’re in (pardon the pun but the timing could not be better, given the growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots), it does eventually slightly wear down the viewer because it’s a very singular concept that doesn’t offer much wiggle room. Once the idea has been presented, there’s only that much that can be done before it starts to feel repetitive. The fact that the movie runs almost 2 hours long, with an extremely heavy handed use of time-related metaphors (and more time puns than you can shake a stick at), only serves to exacerbate this issue.

However, there are a lot of things going on for the movie that help to elevate the film above mediocrity. Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried make a good looking couple, and the duo share an easy chemistry though they never really light up the screen. They are more like a pair of fun-loving, sharp-dressing BFFs, but this isn’t really a downside since the pairing still works in principle. The rest of the cast are also quite effective, and it’s clear that Niccol spent some effort in casting actors that are somewhat ageless in appearance.  

Where In Time truly shines is in its impeccable production values. Not only is the cinematography breathtaking, thanks to seasoned cinematographer Roger Deakins, the art direction is near flawless, starting with multiple Oscar-winning Colleen Atwoods’ gorgeous costumes to the amazing set and prop designs. It’s clear that much thought has been put into even the littlest details, and In Time is a superlative effort when it comes to aesthetics. 

Look past some little niggles in the plot (it’s never explained why humans stop aging at 25, and why everyone’s lifespan is limited to just an extra year, for example), and In Time manages to function very well as an eye candy film, extending beyond the actors and into the look and feel of the film itself. For an action film released in the “off season”, one could certainly do worse than what has been accomplished here.          

Rating: ** ½ (out of four stars)


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