Justin Timberlake is a man who lives just minutes from death in In Time, a sci-fi thriller that is high on concept but low on thrills. From the director of Gattaca, but also S1m0ne and Lord of War, In Time works at a rudimentary level but struggles with two key issues: it isn't very suspenseful, and it makes no Goddamned sense.
Timberlake plays Will Salas, a poor factory worker who lives in a futuristic society where every person stops aging at 25 years old and where time is the ultimate currency. As a result, the rich are essentially immortal, while the other 99% will inevitably run out of time and die immediately. After Will's mother, who looks a lot like Olivia Wilde, dies as a result of these circumstances, he sets out to bring down the system. Sort of.
It's a neat idea, as long as you don't think about it too hard. The opening narration even tells the audience to not over-think the time-as-money concept. After all, who would invent such a silly system?
The real problem with In Time, however, is that it doesn't try very hard to entertain the audience. It's marginally serviceable and easy to watch, but director Andrew Niccol fails to inject much, if any, excitement into the picture. The movie should have played out like some variation of Minority Report, but everything from the sets, score and choreography signify a lack of attention to detail.
The world in which Will lives isn't very far removed from what today looks like, which is fine except it feels like the set designers were just too lazy to make things interesting. More importantly, for a movie that is all about running out of time, Niccol fails to convince the audience that time is against the lead characters. The action is instantly forgettable.
There are worse movies to see than In Time. It's not terrible. It just isn't very good. It's a shame, despite a concept that really makes no sense, it could have been an exciting action-thriller if done right. Spend your time somewhere else.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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