In Time


Too much of a stretch for Timberlake…

There’s a great idea at the centre of Andrew Niccol’s (Gattaca) latest that wouldn’t be out of place in a Philip K Dick story.

In the future, human life is metered past the age of 25, time – displayed on the wrist – has replaced money as currency, and the rich spend eternity in luxurious indolence while the poor beg, borrow or steal for a few miserable minutes more.

Playing his first action lead, Justin Timberlake plays a lowly clock-puncher who’s gifted a huge time windfall by a suicidal stranger. But it’s not long before he’s being chased by Cillian Murphy’s cop-like Time Keeper and dallying with Amanda Seyfried’s cosseted rich girl.

It’s a promising set-up: because people don’t visibly age after 25, the 30-year-old Timberlake’s mum is the 27-year-old Wilde; we see adverts for 99-secs stores; while people ‘time out’ (ie die) in the streets, their life spans leeching away on their wrists like faded tattoos.

Trouble is, there’s a disconnect between concept and execution, with Niccol’s early invention petering out in favour of clodhopping chase-movie dynamics. When a waitress tells JT he doesn’t belong in her time-rich world because he does everything too fast (“Not everything…” he leers), she’s got a point.

Why aren’t the poor racing /all/ the time? Why is the world of the movie /exactly/ the same as ours, except for the entire process of human interaction (and a few nifty cars)? Why did anyone agree to a system which makes cooking eggs a cinch, but oversleeping potentially fatal? Why hasn’t Niccol answered any of these questions?

The performances are just as insubstantial. Timberlake doesn’t embarrass himself, but he’s not exactly a rugged, wrong-side-of-the-tracks action hero, while Seyfried and co drift between underwritten and insipid.

It’s not really their fault; having pretty young things playing beyond their years strips away the gravitas from the characters’ plights. How can they know what they stand to lose if they look like they’ve never lived?


A grown-up sci-fi idea suffering from a severe case of arrested (script) development, In Time plays like Equilibrium without the fights, or Total Recall without the fun.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • lukeworm100

      Nov 1st 2011, 21:20

      Oh that is a shame because this looks like a really fresh and original concept

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    • marc96

      Nov 1st 2011, 21:21

      i really enjoyed this film, although i definitely agree they could have done so much more with this story & everytime i thought they were going to take it down an interesting road they seemed to choose simple action scenes, but i was hooked from the start... maybe it was the sight of olivia wilde & amanda seyfried who knows lol i thinking the most interesting aspect of the film was always awesome Cillian murphy, i wish we had delved into his character more as i found him fascinating

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    • MikeyRix

      Nov 2nd 2011, 12:35

      Owch. I'd hoped for better because, as lukeworm said, the concept sounded very interesting and meaty as hell. Too bad I can't find it in myself to believe both Timberlake and Seyfried in their respective roles...

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    • FBDBullock

      Nov 5th 2011, 18:15


      The concept is great but the script is thin. There are cars chases, an extreme amount of ‘time’ puns - to the point of groaning – throughout and although it has a lot of interesting ideas and possibilities, it doesn’t quite merge into a cohesive, confident film that really believes in what it’s saying. However, In Time does have flickers of enjoyable moments and could well be considered an entertaining time-heist film with echoes of Enemy of the State and the faint ideology of Bonnie & Clyde. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, then this should hit the spot.

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    • willow138

      Nov 16th 2011, 23:49


      It's not the best film I've seen, but it's O.K. Cillian Murphy is fantastic as the "Time Keeper" aka cop, and Justin Timberlake may not be a rough and ready action star but he's no lame-a*s Taylor Lautner in Abduction either. He has a lot to learn if he wants to stick in the genre but he did well for his first time out. The concept is brilliant and reminds me of the awesome Logan's Run but it is not fully developed and several things have been over looked such as why in a seemingly advanced world, are the cars, toll booths, phones, fashion etc all the same as ours. If just a bit more thought had gone into the premise this film could have easily been a 4/5 but sadly I can only give it 3/5.

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    • aleks989

      Jan 20th 2012, 20:08


      I'd say its a great concept, well maybe it lacks a good script, but a great idea nonetheless. It deserves 3 stars.

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