In Time

Film, Drama
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In Time
Photograph: Stephen Vaughan
Vincent Kartheiser, left, Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in In Time
Science fiction may be the cinema of ideas but, as this latest slice of dystopian drudgery from ‘Gattaca’ director Andrew Niccol proves, there comes a point when ideas aren’t enough. ‘In Time’ takes place in an alternate reality where money has been replaced by a new currency: minutes, hours, months and years of life. It’s an intriguing concept, and the first act offers plenty of thought-provoking twists on it: a world filled with ageless 25 year olds, 99-second bargain stores, upmarket neighbourhoods that cost a year just to step into, and the possibility that a missed bus could result in death if you don’t have enough time left to get to the bank.

But Niccol fritters it all away with a cookie-cutter chase plot, a dull, derivative visual style and characters who lack all definition. Justin Timberlake struggles to bring a spark of life to the role of Will Salas, the day-at-a-time ghetto punk who hits the temporal jackpot when a suicidal rich kid bequeaths him a century. Upping sticks for swanky New Greenwich, playground of the undying elite, he falls in with bored heiress Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), but it’s not long before the law starts sniffing around, and the young lovers decide to go crazy, Robin-Hood style.

The clever central conceit aside, there’s nothing new here: despite the presence of stars like Timberlake and Seyfried, the entire film feels incredibly cheap, shot in a series of pseudo-futuristic urban hellscapes which look suspiciously like downtown LA. Attempts at a subtextual link to the current global downturn are largely worthless, as we simply have no idea how this complex world – let alone its economy – functions. But Niccol’s major problem is timing: action sequences and dialogue scenes lie flat on the screen, while his tendency to play around with pacing means that any tension quickly dissipates. Life’s too short.

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Tuesday November 1 2011
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Justin Timberlake
Amanda Seyfried
Cillian Murphy
Alex Pettyfer
Olivia Wilde

Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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I can't help agreeing with Parthesia that some of the criticism of this film is political, albeit unconscious; I remember thinking in the middle of the film: It's unusual for Hollywood product to carry a socialist, even communis,t message. Huddleston's remark that they 'go crazy' is very misleading: they discuss possibilities for changing the world, beyond violence, and use time, which is the only currency, as a weapon. The film is far from perfect; it contains a totally ridiculous robbery in which no security guards or Timekeepers are anywhere in evidence, and the camera even pans away helicopter- style to give us an aerial view of a grieving Timberlake, the kind of shot that's been parodied so many times it's hard to see it without tittering. But the rest of the camerawork is pretty damn good, with imaginative use of colours and shadows, and good contrasting of the rich and poor areas. Seyfried looks like Ana Karina in Alphaville throughout, and the playful puns on 'time' words keep on coming. This is an excellent 'B' movie, a tech-noir with heart.

Unusually I read both the TO and audience reviews before going to see this one, and wasn’t expecting much. I rarely see sci-fi films, so have little to compare this one with, and have no idea what it’s similar to. Initially I found the concept of objects having a time value a little strange, but after a while you get used to it. I thought the general idea of the story – a sci-fi Robin Hood giving time to the poor and needy worked well, bearing in mind most of the characters lived under the threat of dying within a day if they hadn’t bought/traded sufficient time. I thought Justin Timberlake was fine – just as he was in Social Network and Bad Teacher. On the whole I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t see this will be a Golden Globe or Oscar winner, but equally it’s not a film any of the cast will look back at with embarrassment. Three stars.

I agree with the reviwer. It was a waste of an interesting idea. It did look cheap - some scenes just looked like a bunch of extras wandering around some warehouses or something - there was no real sense of place, and any urgency that there might have been in relation to time running out was ruined because it was hard to keep track of who had how much time. Amanda Seyfied's wig looked weird - along with her make-up, which miraculously remained perfect even though she'd slept in it. And yes, the acting wasn't great from the two leads (although some of the others were very good). But I suppose it was probably quite difficult for them with such a terrible script. The bit about Timberlake's father trying to give people hope (I think that was the dreadful line) was a low point, as was the bit where Cillian Murphy (wasted in this role) is racing against the clock to apprehend the two leads, and decides to stop for a chat with them. Stupid.

Very rare will I ever not walk out on a movie. Did it once before. This will now be #2. I knew I was in trouible when Justin cried over his mother. He needs to stick to comedy shorts or singing. The concept was great. The acting was not. Anybody that rated this a good movie has no clue what a good movie is. This guy did Gattaca which was a good movie. The difference was you had very good actors in it. I would have asked for my money back but that would have meant I had to tell somebody I actually paid for it. DO NOT waste your time on this so called movie. Don't rent it on Netflix either. It's a waste of postage. I gave it 1 star only because I couldn't give it less.

didnt live up to my expectance.actually agree with timeout review but its watchable.Go see if you have a cineworld card

I went with 3 other people last night and we really enjoyed the film. The story is great and there is lots going on to keep you watching. Justin T was a lot better than I expected him to be. Would definately recomend it :)

Perfectly enjoyable fare but, at the risk of repeating myself re this type of film, don't bust the bank. Would had loved to have seen an 80's / 90's Verhoven 18 rated version, but this will do in that (weary sigh) watery 12a type vibe so common today. 6/10