Set in a futuristic alternative universe, In Time is a sci-fi drama about a world where currency is time. People are born with thirteen yellow digits imprinted on their forearms. Once they turn a certain age, these digits give them a year to live. It is then that their strive for more life starts. Bargaining, buying more time, playing poker for more time, etc… become common activities.
And as it is with our world, that world is also divided into a downtown called “New Greenwich” and the ghettos. People living in New Greenwich have too much time whilst those in the ghettos don’t have enough. They live in fear of their seconds ticking away and that is the world Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives in, at least until he randomly stumbles on a man in a bar with over a century on his watch, getting him to go on a journey that leads him to Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of a time-company tycoon.
The premise of the movie is fascinating to say the least. It’s very easy to get engrossed in the whole idea of the movie – at least for the first half, after which it becomes dreary. The problem with the story of In Time is that it goes nowhere. While the foundation of the idea is great, the execution is less than stellar and sometimes cringe-worthy, especially when you couple it with Justin Timberlake’s acting.
Imagine a man whose mother dies in his arms… his reaction would be weeping. Justin Timberlake does that but it’s so unconvincing that it becomes borderline comical. And this spotty performance persists throughout the movie, leading to one unconvincing scene after another – scenes that could have been much more had they brought some better actor.
Compared to Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried looks good in the movie – and I do not mean her natural looks, although those eyes are a sight to behold. Her character starts by telling Salas that people in new Greenwich don’t live; everything there is slow and redundant. But she wants to live. And that is precisely the transition she acts out well enough: from a robotic rich girl to a feisty woman.
I can only begin to think what some brilliant director like Christopher Nolan could have done to a movie with the premise of In Time. He would have delivered a cinematic masterpiece, à la Inception or The Dark Knight. But sadly, a masterpiece is far from being achieved here. Couple horrible acting at times with a weak storyline and you have a movie that is spotty at best – although it does have some scenes that will get your heart pounding. But at the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a waste of time. Don’t watch it if you have something better to do. My problem was I did not.