Review: ‘In Time’ not worth the cost of admission

By Sarah George
Guest Contributor

“In Time,” much to my surprise, is first and foremost a metaphorical commentary on the current position of the United States economy and only secondly a thriller.

In this alternate universe, time is money. People are genetically engineered to stop aging after 25, and at birth they are given one year to add to their internal clock. Because people don’t age, they have the capacity to live forever if they have enough time. If they run out of time, they “clock out” and die.

Special scanners scan people’s wrists to take time away from them — this how individuals have to make payments for items. People can also transfer time to each other by touching wrists.

Each person has a green digital clock on his or her forearm that states the exact amount of time he or she has to live. People with more time are therefore wealthier. When categorizing the poor and the rich, one is able to distinguish between them by how fast they move.

The audience is introduced to Will Salas, played by Justin Timberlake of “The Social Network,” a factory worker who has been 25 for three years and, quite literally, lives day to day.

Because of the actions of others, Will is falsely accused of theft and murder. This sends the time-keeper, roughly the film’s equivalent of a police officer, names Raymond Leon (played by Cillian Murphy of “Inception”) after him.

In reality, Will had not murdered the man but had been given his time, so he decides to go to the wealthier time zone to take revenge on the oppression of the poor by the wealthy after he received this time.

In a game of poker, Will meets Phillipe Weis (played by Vincent Kartheiser from “Mad Men”), a wealthy businessman and his rebellious daughter Sylvia, played by Amanda Seyfried of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

After being invited to a party at the Weis mansion, Will starts a relationship with Sylvia until Raymond and his men show up and attempt to arrest him. He takes Sylvia hostage and runs off. Eventually they develop a relationship and begin a quest to redistribute time back to the poorer time zones.

The ongoing internal discussion throughout the film involved the question of immortality. Do people want to live forever? Is it right to let someone else die just so you can live forever? These questions are also posed in different ways in our economy when some wonder how we let some homeless people go starving, or why some children are given more educational opportunities than others.

Personally, I think writer and director Andrew Nicchol, best known for the critically-acclaimed screenplays “Gattaca,” “The Truman Show” and “The Terminal,” should stick to story telling with words rather than pictures. While he’s a star in the writer’s room, Nicchols maybe should let others direct his work on screen.

The dramatic scenes were cheesy, the chemistry between Timberlake and Seyfried felt forced and the action scenes were mediocre. Basically, think of any cliche you’ve seen before in a film with a convict that kidnaps a girl and it’s probably in this movie. They were chased across a rooftop, she fell in love with him — you know, the usual. There’s simply nothing new here.

It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if more of an effort had been made to make the scenes a little less predictable. It left little room for Timberlake or Seyfried to shine.

With such a relatable premise, “In Time” would have done much better as a television show. For the story to work, the characters needed more time to develop their relationships.

This movie was lost an arm-wrestling match between “pretty good” and “OK” Because of this, I am awarding “In Time” two stars out of five.

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