In Time * * 1/2
Director: Andrew Niccol.
Screenplay: Andrew Niccol.
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew Bomer, Yaya DaCosta, Ethan Peck, Toby Hemingway.
Writer/director Andrew Niccol is no stranger to scientific ideas. In 1997 he delivered the Orwellian genetic engineering “Gattaca“. In 2002 he tackled computer generated imagery in “S1mOne“. He also penned the predictory script to reality TV in 1998 with “The Truman Show“. Fantasy and Science Fiction seem to be genres that he’s comfortable with but this is not one of his better efforts.
In the not too distant future, people stop ageing when they reach 25. If they are wealthy though, they can buy time. The rest, have to work for it. Lifespan has replaced money in this dystopian world. One of the workers, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), is gifted time from a suicidal friend, which allows him to escape his poor background and experience the life of the rich. But there are state police, known as “Time keepers” who are out to thwart his new life.
The premise to this is quite an intriguing one and the dystopian futuristic setting is wonderfully captured by the Coen brothers’ regular cinematographer Roger Deakins. It’s just a shame that with such a strong base to work from, it becomes nothing more than a chase thriller and abandons any attempt to delve into some possible existential theories. Even as a chase thriller, it lacks any form of excitement. It has it’s moments but ultimately the film takes too long in getting to it’s destination. Time is of the essence for it’s characters and ironically, it also gets taken from us, having to slog through this. I’m not Justin Trousersnake’s biggest fan, but he delivers a decent performance. However, the progression of his character as a future ‘Clyde’ to Seyfried’s ‘Bonnie’ is uneasy and a little hard to take. Cillian Murphy’s ‘Time keeper’ police officer is quite an intriguing one but he has little, to no, backstory. When we are given a glimpse into his character it’s too little too late. It’s this overwhelming feeling of emptiness that, as a whole, the film suffers from.
I didn’t go into this film expecting a masterpiece or anything but I still expected more than I got. Despite looking good on the surface, it’s ultimately hollow. Fans of the likes of “The Adjustment Bureau” may find more to savour though.