In Time Is a Fun, Futuristic Ride That’s Worth Your…Time
Review in a Hurry: Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried live in a place where aging is bad and time is the only real commodity: Los Angeles! The retro costumes and setting have style to spare. The action moves, and if you don’t think too hard on the premise, In Time is a fun ride. Justin and Amanda bring the sexy back to sci-fi! If only their characters had more to do than rob time banks and drive fast electric cars.
The Bigger Picture: In the L.A. of the future, humans are genetically altered to stop aging at 25, but only the rich (and hotties) keep on ticking. Will Silas (Timberlake) is hot, but not rich so he lives day to day. Sometimes down to the minute or seconds in District 12, the slums of writer-director Andrew Niccol’s dystopian world. Everyone is born with a snazzy green Lite-Brite-looking clock on their arm. At 25, the countdown to cardiac arrest begins. For young heiress Sylvia (Seyfried) this is little more than an annoyance since her perpetually young-looking pops (Mad Men‘s Vincent Kartheiser) who literally has all the time in the world gave her a decade extra for her birthday. But then she meets Will and they get all Bonnie and Clyde, looting daddy’s time banks.
Niccol made Gattaca way back in the ’90s so he’s in familiar territory. The costumes are über-chic and the look of the future is seeped in the past: ’50s era cars, ’30s era factories.
Did we mention this is a film starring no one over 25? This is Young Hollywood, Cautionary Tale 101.
But that’s most of the fun too.
Clearly, the young star angle is intentional. The ultimate dude is a man with 100-plus years, played by White Collar‘s incredibly good-looking Matt Bomer. The film was shot in and around Los Angeles (by master cinematographer Roger Deakins), which feels appropriately soulless but is filled with cool electric humming vehicles and snazzy skyscrapers. Even the lair of the film’s baddie is the actual building of L.A.’s fame factory: the office for talent agency CAA.
Most of the insanely hot twentysomethings fade into the background like an endless supply of fashion models, but some roles register. Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy) plays Will’s mother. Their scenes are surprisingly sweet considering they’re mom and son but look the same age. Cillian Murphy (Inception) is the detective out to nab Will and Sylvia. A silly as this all sounds, the actors commit to this “old but young” method, which is weird, but pretty compelling.
The script gets a lot of mileage from the time premise—some way too literal (every character seems to use the word “time” all the time), but a lot feels fresh, and even thrilling.
Just don’t spend too much, um, time trying to figure out the (many) plot holes. That would be a waste of well, you know.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Alex Pettyfer (blond hunk from I Am Number Four) plays a two-bit 75-year-old time thief. His race to capture Will is as tired as the old man he’s playing and unnecessary. Cutting this lame subplot would have saved a lotta time.