In Time, in the softest of science fictions, asks audiences to believe humans have somehow been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, and that once you hit 25, the glowing green digital timer embedded into your arm starts counting down from one year. To live past that single year you must earn time by working for it, being given it, or engaging in ludicrous “fights” for it.
In this world time is used as money, so a cup of coffee is 4 minutes of your life, buying a fancy sports car would be a century, and so on. On paper, it sounds cool. However, there's zero thought given to any logistics of how this system would actually work, and this interesting premise simply exists to support the rice-paper thin metaphor of time literally equaling money.
We're introduced to this premise during a 15 second or so monologue from Justin Timberlake's Will Salas, a poor worker in the ghetto of Dayton, Ohio, who is living day-to-day. Get it? Cause he only has a day's worth of time left? He lives with his mom (Olivia Wilde), eventually meets a rich man, who before committing suicide (or 'timing out') gives Will all the time in the world. Well, about a century to be more exact. Alas, he is unable to reach his still-poor mother in time to give her some of his new found wealth, and she too, times out.
So now free and rich, Will, with zero remorse on his face, charters a limo to a different “time zone”, specifically new Greenwich, where people with perfectly coifed hair go around asking eachother if they are “from time” (instead of from money. Get it? Get it?), here he meets Pete Campell from Mad Men, who's a big rich jerk with a sexy daughter. I refer to him as Pete Campell from Mad Men, and not his real movie name, because he is not a character. He is a face we know in a performance he essentially does 13 weeks a year on basic cable. But anyway, we've seen the plot a dozen times before. A poor boy wins the affection of a rich girl, and after bickering with each-other while on the lam, they fall in love, and elect to stick it to the establishment while they still have time (get it?).
The only intriguing part of the film occurs toward the beginning of the second act after Will's mom dies. Will, finally with about a 100 years to his name, takes a journey across the country, depositing more time than he ever thought he'd have into various toll booths along the path. The tolls get higher and higher as the limo marches forward, but because Will is with time / money for the first time in his life, it's interesting to watch him deposit more time than he ever previously thought he had, or could have, as a simple toll.
I guess if you're someone who's occupying Wall Street, and thoroughly enjoys being angry at the big gray “Establishment” bands like Rage Against The Machine screech about between “Aw Yeah”s and “Give it to me!”s, and don't want to think about the socioeconomic reasons for WHY there is such a gap between the rich and the poor and the ever shrinking middle class, then yes, “In Time” is decent for about 20 minutes which is probably all your attention span can handle anyway.
But if you think about the movie for more than three seconds it's inane premise and manipulative message will rot your brain. All I have is questions: Who the heck engineered people to be like this? What do orphans do? Why is Justin Timberlake in this movie if he's supposed to be a depressed and poor kid from the ghetto. Where did he learn to shoot a gun? Why is Cillian Murphy's character very obviously past the age of 25? Are they seriously playing No Limit Hold'Em Poker right now? Why are the bad guys dressed like villians from firefly? Is the message of this movie really that, if I'm poor, I should rob banks, kidnap rich women, and engage in murder to fight the establishment?
I just hate movies like this that use a pretty serious and complicated issue as an excuse to fire guns and run from things. There is a thought provoking, serious, and probably poignant movie somewhere in this not-very-well thought out universe, unfortunately, this is not it.
You know, if you're reading this review right now, and want to see a movie that is like this one, but smarter, more uplifting, better acted, and more fun? Go rent “The Adjustment Bureau” right now. Go do it. In fact, you'll get the same shots of the lead male character running while holding the hand of the female character while wearing a partially soiled suit jacket and button down shirt, except in “The Adjustment Bureau” you'll care what happens to them, and get a fancy hat for your trouble.
Thus, In Time is uneven, badly acted, devoid of surprise or intrigue or a single original thought or subtly or nuance or a one memorable moment that hasn't been done better elsewhere in every conceivable way. It's impossible to say the movie's heart is in the wrong place for it has no heart. It is an assembly of scenes that run out of steam about a half hour in and turns into a lame Bonnie and Clyde meets Robin Hood rip off. The more I think about this movie, the more bitter I become toward it, and to be frank, I don't have the time.