In case you missed it in theatres (and chances are you did), the sci-fi thriller In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, comes to Blu-Ray and DVD* today.
The first thing you might notice about In Time is how good-looking it is. Of course, being an Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) joint, the film is stylish and immaculate, but that’s not what I mean. I am referring to the film’s entire cast being comprised of gorgeous young actors. With the exception of two young children, every character in the film is 25 years old.
No matter how many years they have behind them, everyone from grandmothers to mob heavies are played by actors in their mid-twenties to early-thirties. Combine that with Hollywood’s natural trend towards beauty, and the effect creates what can only be described as a “model” future.
You see, in In Time‘s vision of the future, genetics have been altered to give everyone’s life a predetermined length. At 25 years old, bodies stop aging but start counting down. Everyone gets a year, but time can be earned, traded, gambled, or stolen. It is, in fact, the only currency humanity has left.
The “dys” in this “topia” comes in the form of a staggering wealth gap that is literally the difference between life and death. The rich live for centuries while those in the ghetto must work to earn each new day.
The well-paced action starts when factory worker Will (Timberlake) comes across some spare years and decides to redistribute the wealth with the help of repressed rich girl Sylvia (Seyfried). Attempting to stop him from disrupting the status quo are Sylvia’s elderly tycoon father (Vincent Kartheiser) and a determined veteran cop (Cillian Murphy).
Niccol’s “timely” plot may capture some of the class friction currently irritating the zeitgeist, but the high-concept script is often too busy babysitting the audience with expository dialogue to deliver its moral with anything other than patronizing bluntness.
As for said concept, writer/director/producer Niccol has clearly spent a lot of time meticulously considering how such a society might function. Unfortunately, there are still about a hundred simple queries that could destroy the film’s conceit for you, but if you decide to suspend your disbelief, the film does for the most part stick to an inner logic.
In Time may not be as deep as some of the questions it raises, but it is for the most part slick and entertaining and, if you can let yourself be taken along for the ride, worth your time.
*The DVD special features, hardly worth mentioning, include a theatrical trailer and eight short, unessential deleted/extended scenes.