{2jtab: Movie Review}

In Time - Movie Review


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3 stars

In Andrew Niccol’s In Time, we learn of an alternate reality in the near future, where time really is money… or more specifically, currency. Everyone is born with a body clock embedded in the wrist which is activated when the frontal lobe of the brain and the body are considered fully matured, sometime around the age of 25. At the moment of its activation, that clock begins ticking down – and you have exactly one year to live. However, working can add more time to your clock, as can simply clasping wrists with another person.

While the film’s obvious parallels are to today’s youth-obsessed society looking for ways to halt the body’s aging process, the film begins to make its loudest statement with a metaphor about the state of today’s economy. Or about overpopulation? Or world hunger? Wall Street? Though Niccol seems to have a bit of trouble singularizing his message (as well as controlling the schizoid jumps from action to comedy to romance), In Time can, at times, be a fun bit of speculative fiction with a chilling relevance to today’s worsening economic crisis. Some execution shortcomings deal the film a few significant blows however, preventing it from becoming the poignant monument Niccol had intended.

Justin Timberlake is Will Salas, who lives in the country’s poorest region, or time zone. When we meet Will, he’s 28, having lived literally day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck in the three years since his countdown was activated. But with only an hour left on his body clock, he toils away in hard labor to buy another day, spending four minutes on a cup of coffee, or an hour for a bus ride.  Will’s 50-year-old mother (Olivia Wilde) has scraped out a living for herself, but with inflation rising, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get by. The rich, who have amassed centuries on their clocks and dole it out to the poor in ever-decreasing allotments, control the price of time. Sound familiar?

Order is kept in Dayton by Timekeepers who patrol the streets and electronically monitor the flow of time into the poorest time zones.  When it is noticed that Will’s clock has suddenly accumulated a century of time, he is falsely accused of the murder of the man who passed the time to Will before committing suicide. One particular Timekeeper named Leon (Cillian Murphy) is charged with bringing Will in for questioning, but with no believable explanation as to how he received the time, and with no real safety amongst the villainous Minutemen who prey the streets looking to steal time, Will heads to New Greenwich, the richest time zone (hotels cost two months a night) where worries of time theft are non-existent. Will soon discovers there’s a motivation problem in New Greenwich. Seems that because they are virtually immortal, rich people have little incentive to do anything. Will also learns about “Darwinian Capitalism” and many other exclusionary theories that lurk behind the curtain of obscurity, the most unsettling of which is the reality that in order for a few to live, many must die.

Will does eventually find something interesting in New Greenwich however – Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of the super-wealthy Phillipe Weiss (Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser). As the timekeepers eventually move in and attempt to apprehend Will, he takes Sylvia hostage and what begins as a Bonnie and Clyde run from the law, eventually turns into a high stakes game to change the rules of this not-so-brave world.

Niccol has clearly spent a lot of time meticulously concocting the thought-provoking details of an imaginary – though not completely original - world where corruption swirls around the idea of time as currency. Having explored futuristic themes in 1997’s Gattaca, and 1998’s The Truman Show, the filmmaker clearly knows his way around a sci-fi story. However, a bit more back-story is much needed here. For instance, what’s the history behind the genetic mutation(?) that causes the aging process to halt? How did society ever come to accept the outward and visible display of the wrist clock?

Had he been more slight-handed with his allegorical narrative, Niccol could have avoided the negative criticism he’ll undoubtedly receive by those unable to objectively ponder the film’s clunky socio-political message. Though often a bit preachy, the discussions taking place in In Time are many of the same ones currently blasting from the bullhorns of the Wall Street occupiers. Perhaps, it’s all just a bit too timely and uncomfortably relevant.

{2jtab: Film Details}

In Time - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, some sexualty and partial nudity, and strong language.
: Andrew Niccol
: Andrew Niccol
Justin Timberlake; Amanda Seyfried; Olivia Wilde;
: Sci-fi | Action | Romance
Live forever or die trying.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Just once I'd like to wake up with more time on my hand than hours in the day."
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date: October 28, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No Details available

Synopsis: When Will Salas is falsely accused of murder, he must figure out a way to bring down a system where time is money - literally - enabling the wealthy to live forever while the poor, like Will, have to beg, borrow, and steal enough minutes to make it through another day. .

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

In Time - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

3 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 31, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; BD-Live
Playback: Region A

Captured on camera by famed cinematographer Roger Deakins, In Time is a lavish-looking 1080p transfer.  Deakins manipulates light and shadows in ways I still don’t fully understand, but he elevates most every film he shoots.  Here, the stunning work is on glorious display.  Black levels are consistently strong and never runny.  Contrast levels are smooth and flesh tones (and their texture) are full of fine detail and warm colors.  In Time is digitally shot and, as a result, the transfer is ripe with color, detail, texture, and tone.  It’s practically bursting at the seams with visual poetry.  Even the stitches in the actor’s clothing have soul.  The sound – presented here in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track – is full of the kicks you’d expect in an action movie, but fails to impress with its surround sound.  While there’s an intelligence kicking about its overall sound design, it fails to impress beyond a sense of the generic.



  • Wow.  In spite of the sticker on the case promising a bit of a backstory, In Time’s special features are just about the most vapid supplementals around. The Minutes (running about 17 minutes) promises more story, but is a goofy trek through the main actors in a story that is more unnecessary than it is supplemental.  It’s a waste of time, if you ask me.  There are 10 deleted scenes, but only two are interesting as they develop an interesting sub-plot concerning one character’s father.  The rest of the material is composed of previews for This Means War, Immortals, Haywire, Machine Gun Preacher, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and There Be Dragons.  Yawn.

Special Features:

  • The Minutes (17 min)
  • Deleted Scenes (13 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}