In Time (12A)

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/11/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Despite strong performances from a likeable cast, this squanders its potentially interesting premise and is ultimately something of a disappointment thanks to a dumbed-down script, a lack of imagination and a tendency towards heavy-handed symbolism.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), In Time (which, given its star, really ought to have been called Just In Time) is set in an alternative reality where everyone stops aging at 25, at which point the poor have to earn the minutes they need to stay alive (everyone has a clock embedded in their arm, ticking down their remaining minutes), while the rich get to live forever. Justin Timberlake stars as 28 year old Will, a factory worker who suddenly finds himself with time on his hands (literally) when a depressed rich stranger (Matt Bomer) gives him 100 years before committing suicide.

With suspicious Timekeeper Raymond (Cillian Murphy) hot on his trail, Will heads for the wealthy New Greenwich time zone where he falls for the beautiful Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of ancient billionaire Philippe (Vincent Kartheiser). And when Sylvia glimpses the reality of life outside her sheltered existence, she decides to help Will smash the system by stealing time (conveniently stored in time banks) and giving it away to the poor.

The Good
Timberlake makes a solid, likeable lead as Will and he has strong chemistry with Seyfried (looking fabulous in a red bob wig), while there's great support from Kartheiser and Murphy, both of whom do a good job of suggesting old men in young bodies. On top of that, the film has an interesting central idea and there are a couple of enjoyably playful moments (casting Olivia Wilde as Timberlake's mother; a scene where Kartheiser introduces his wife, mother and daughter and they all look the same age), but the plot completely fails to capitalise on its intriguing premise.

The Bad
There are two main problems with the under-developed script: the first is that the rules of the alternative universe haven't been properly thought through – for example, if stealing time is so easy, why isn't everyone doing it and what's stopping the poor from rising up against the rich? The second problem is that the film opts for a not very interesting Bonnie & Clyde-slash-Robin Hood style plot instead of exploring the central idea – as a result, it has nothing interesting to say.

On top of that, the script is rather too in love with its own Capitalism is EVIL metaphor and clumsily hammers home the symbolism at every opportunity, along with every groan-worthy time-related pun it can think of, which quickly gets tiresome.

Worth seeing?
The performances ensure that In Time is never less than watchable but it's ultimately something of a missed opportunity. Disappointing.

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In Time (12A)
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Content updated: 04/11/2011 05:49

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