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Review: In Time

Oct. 28, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: In the future, people will stop aging at twenty-five. From that point, they will each have one year left on their imprinted time code, which they use as currency. The rich can virtually stay twenty-five forever, but the poor, including Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) and his mother (Olivia Wilde) have to struggle day in, day out with their impending mortality. When a rich man (Matt Bomer) gives Will a century worth of time, he uses it to gain entry into high society. When a tenacious timekeeper (Cillian Murphy) learns of his surplus of time, he charges Will with murder. Forced to take a heiress, Sylvia Weiss (Amanda Seyfried) hostage, Will goes on the run- determined to destroy the system that allows the rich to live forever.

REVIEW: IN TIME has a fantastic premise. Weve all heard the old saying time is money, but here- it really is. Kudos to writer-director Andrew Niccol, whos back in the same speculative sci-fi universe he examined in GATTACA. Like all good sci-fi, IN TIME is heavily influenced by the mess of a world we currently find ourselves living in- where the economy has gone berserk. The rich get richer, and the poorer get poorer- and time is the perfect metaphor for cash. After all, how can one be expected to live without income?


While the premise borders of genius, the execution, unfortunately, leaves something to be desired. I like Niccol (LORD OF WAR is one of my top films of the last decade), but for sure reason IN TIME lacks momentum. Considering that a good chunk of the movie finds our hero trying to outrun his dwindling life clock, the pace should have been more break-neck. There are parts of the film where its just that (the last twenty minutes are terrific), but it gets bogged down in the flabby midsection. I also thought the way time was transferred from one person to another- by merely touching arms, wasnt well thought out. It seems to be like stealing someones time would be all too easy (leaving the theater my buddy and I kept grabbing each others arms like in the movie).

Still, thats hardly enough to have kept me from enjoying IN TIME. Along with the premise, Niccol has picked a top-notch cast. Considering that everyone has to be twenty-five years old, this could have been tricky, but the cast is up to the challenge. I know that for a lot of people, Justin Timberlake will always be pegged a certain way, but I truly think hes a massive talent. He proved as much in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and on SNL, and IN TIME, being his first time as a full-fledged lead, is a very solid star vehicle. He has the lean physicality for the role, and his serious approach to acting means no quippy one-liners, or action-hero posing.


Amanda Seyfried, as the obligatory love interest, is ideal as her chemistry with Timberlake is excellent. I dont think Im spoiling much by saying that her character eventually sympathizes with Timberlake, and joins him on his time-giving crusade and the two make a rather photogenic pair. Meanwhile, we get Olivia Wilde as Timberlakes mom, which got a huge laugh from the audience, when Timberlake greets her with a Hi Mom early in the film. This could have been silly, but Wilde sells it.

Wilde, along with Cillian Murphy, and Vincent Kartheiser actually have the trickiest roles, as despite looking twenty-five (although the 35-year old Murphy looks significantly older than anyone else in the cast), they have to give off the impression of having lived three times that long. Kartheiser, of the brilliant MAD MEN, is particularly good at this, playing his greedy magnate role in a way that makes his so-called mental-age of seventy-five more convincing than youd think.

Murphy plays the marginal antagonist here, as the dogged timekeeper trying to track down Timberlake, and keep the balance of his tightly structured world intact. He manages to stay sympathetic throughout, and I really liked his final scene with Timberlake. The more physical baddie is played by I AM NUMBER 4s Alex Pettyfer, as one of a group of Minutemen thugs, who go around the ghetto stealing peoples time. While hes less convincing as a character whos supposed to mentally be in his seventies, theres a terrific showdown between him and Timberlake later in the film thats probably the best scene in the movie.

All in all, IN TIME is a flawed but worthwhile sci-fi film. Its a throwback to the more socially conscious sci-fi of the seventies like SOYLENT GREEN (between this and RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Fox is on a roll), and a solid two hours of entertainment. While the premise is let down a bit by the execution, its still very enjoyable.

Source: JoBlo.com

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11:31AM on 10/30/2011
im tired about u guys just bitching about timberlake..how was the fucking movie? how did niccol do???
im tired about u guys just bitching about timberlake..how was the fucking movie? how did niccol do???
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7:28PM on 10/28/2011
I knew this would be good. It looked solid since i read about this in pre production. I cant wait to see this im seeing it tomorrow night:)
I knew this would be good. It looked solid since i read about this in pre production. I cant wait to see this im seeing it tomorrow night:)
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+2
8:28AM on 11/04/2011

If we don't support directors like Niccol...

It's all Transformers from here on out. I dug this movie, maybe not as clean as Gattaca, but so much about this movie was done pitch perfectly.
It's all Transformers from here on out. I dug this movie, maybe not as clean as Gattaca, but so much about this movie was done pitch perfectly.
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+2
3:26PM on 10/28/2011
I've read a lot of mixed reviews about In Time, but it seems like something I'd like.
I've read a lot of mixed reviews about In Time, but it seems like something I'd like.
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7:50PM on 10/28/2011
I am still not convinced about Timberlake, but science fiction is still the premise I enjoy.
I am still not convinced about Timberlake, but science fiction is still the premise I enjoy.
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9:50PM on 10/28/2011
I'm gonna play devil's advocate and ask people to try and look at Timberlake as though he's some producers "discovery" and the studios are really trying to push him. If he were that with no prior career as a general celebrity or pop star (note I didn't say musician) then I ask you: would you still be THIS against him? I'm not saying the guy is a great actor, but he's decent and has an enjoyable screen presence. I'm okay with him. But hey, that's just me.
I'm gonna play devil's advocate and ask people to try and look at Timberlake as though he's some producers "discovery" and the studios are really trying to push him. If he were that with no prior career as a general celebrity or pop star (note I didn't say musician) then I ask you: would you still be THIS against him? I'm not saying the guy is a great actor, but he's decent and has an enjoyable screen presence. I'm okay with him. But hey, that's just me.
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7:20AM on 10/31/2011
That is an excellent question and I wonder if people would be so impressed if it were not a singer trying to act? JT is likable enough, but he should be judged as a actor now, not as a person who is a singer acting. He was just bad in this film. How he got the lead over Matt Bomer I'll never know. But I'm glad cause the movie had more issues than JT>
That is an excellent question and I wonder if people would be so impressed if it were not a singer trying to act? JT is likable enough, but he should be judged as a actor now, not as a person who is a singer acting. He was just bad in this film. How he got the lead over Matt Bomer I'll never know. But I'm glad cause the movie had more issues than JT>
+0
7:59PM on 10/28/2011
I don't think he's a talented actor at all, maybe in a musical? where he can sing.. But I've yet to see him play a part well. And i don't think ill be watching him in any more films. He's just so bad, I'm surprised that more people don't feel the same way on this site
I don't think he's a talented actor at all, maybe in a musical? where he can sing.. But I've yet to see him play a part well. And i don't think ill be watching him in any more films. He's just so bad, I'm surprised that more people don't feel the same way on this site
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-2
5:41PM on 10/31/2011
I didn't like it quite that much. It was an interesting concept, but plotholes kept piling up. Ultimately, Niccol just wasn't able to do much with it. Here's the full review:

[link]
I didn't like it quite that much. It was an interesting concept, but plotholes kept piling up. Ultimately, Niccol just wasn't able to do much with it. Here's the full review:

[link]
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-3
7:15AM on 10/31/2011
A 7 for this movie makes me laugh like the writing. I have to agree with some of the other comments about JT. JT shows he is no lead actor yet. It was amateur hour for both leads. Amanda could have been replaced with a rag doll for all I cared. They were both out acted by everyone else in the film. People need to move on from SNL, where it takes more charisma than acting & Social Network where they allowed 100 takes for each scene. I had to stop watching this film because the leads were so bad
A 7 for this movie makes me laugh like the writing. I have to agree with some of the other comments about JT. JT shows he is no lead actor yet. It was amateur hour for both leads. Amanda could have been replaced with a rag doll for all I cared. They were both out acted by everyone else in the film. People need to move on from SNL, where it takes more charisma than acting & Social Network where they allowed 100 takes for each scene. I had to stop watching this film because the leads were so bad and I wished their time would run out.
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-4
5:50AM on 10/29/2011

Niccol's worst film to date

Saw it last night, incredibly average film. It doesn't help that Timberlake is so bland throughout. He's no leading man that's for sure.
The Adjustment Bureau had more going for it than this half-arsed project
Saw it last night, incredibly average film. It doesn't help that Timberlake is so bland throughout. He's no leading man that's for sure.
The Adjustment Bureau had more going for it than this half-arsed project
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-4
1:22AM on 10/29/2011
7 seems generous to me. A 5 is closer. This is a fairly forgettable film, aside from it's great premise and Amanda Seyfried looking sexy (kudos to the writer for that short little strip poker scene). However, the film has so many flaws, I found most of it hilarious. The acting is lackluster, and my fears were confirmed, that Timberlake isn't quite ready to take the lead in this kind of film. Really, he should be sticking to comedies or parts similar to his role in Social Network. The script had
7 seems generous to me. A 5 is closer. This is a fairly forgettable film, aside from it's great premise and Amanda Seyfried looking sexy (kudos to the writer for that short little strip poker scene). However, the film has so many flaws, I found most of it hilarious. The acting is lackluster, and my fears were confirmed, that Timberlake isn't quite ready to take the lead in this kind of film. Really, he should be sticking to comedies or parts similar to his role in Social Network. The script had a dozen or so too many puns and just became annoying after a while. We get it, time is currency, move on. Most of all, the movie lacked focus. Beyond the concept and the world they created, the film had no strong focus or central plot, just kind of meandering from plot point to plot point. I did enjoy Seyfried and Timberlakes relationship. They did have good chemistry together, which is what made most of the film as enjoyable as it was. Can't say I am dissapointed, as it's about what I expected, but I was kind of hoping that it would defy my expectations by being more than just a good concept and a bunch of pretty faces. Though, with Wilde and Seyfried in the film, I can't complain nearly as much as I would.
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1:26PM on 10/28/2011

Sorry, Justin Timberlake can't act

He was NOT good in Social Network. He just happened to have a role in a critically acclaimed movie, so of course he'll be looked at. Is he bad on the same level as lets say Channing Tatum, nah, but still, the lead role in an action movie. This same guy who used to have Jerry Curls and sing "bye bye bye"?

Nope sorry, I can't take this dude seriously, at all.
He was NOT good in Social Network. He just happened to have a role in a critically acclaimed movie, so of course he'll be looked at. Is he bad on the same level as lets say Channing Tatum, nah, but still, the lead role in an action movie. This same guy who used to have Jerry Curls and sing "bye bye bye"?

Nope sorry, I can't take this dude seriously, at all.
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8:00PM on 10/28/2011
Tottally agree with you..
Tottally agree with you..
2:15PM on 10/29/2011
He was good ENOUGH in Social Network. But I agree w/ anyone who says he is NO leading man. Just a supporting guy . . .
He was good ENOUGH in Social Network. But I agree w/ anyone who says he is NO leading man. Just a supporting guy . . .
7:23AM on 10/31/2011
JT was good in Social Network, but not as good as many hyped him to be. I think the singer actor thing got him more praise than he deserved. Also, who didn't go good in that film? But in this film he went back down to the level of the other stuff I've seen him do. I expected more from him and Amanda.
JT was good in Social Network, but not as good as many hyped him to be. I think the singer actor thing got him more praise than he deserved. Also, who didn't go good in that film? But in this film he went back down to the level of the other stuff I've seen him do. I expected more from him and Amanda.
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