a critiQal film review In Time (2011)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: When Will Salas (Timberlake) is falsely accused of murder, he must figure out a way to bring down a system where time is money – literally – enabling the wealthy to live forever while the poor, like Will, have to beg, borrow, and steal enough minutes to make it through another day.

489 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 26s)

Justin Timberlake. Argh. Ever since he ruined Shrek the Third (2007), he hasn’t been exactly one of our favorite actors. But, after appearing in critical darling The Social Network (2010) (like Napoleon Dynamite (2004), it’s one of those dull films that everybody seems to love), it looks like he’s going to be around for a little while.

So, when we heard that he was starring in a new film, In Time, we weren’t exactly jumping at the chance to see it. However, the premise looked good, so we decided to check it out once it hit DVD.

Would Justin Timberlake be able to show us he’s improved at acting, or would we just be crying a river over the wasted storyline?

Justin Timberlake is actually pretty decent as a kid from the time ghetto in In Time. Sure, he’s still a little wooden and standoffish, but that actually works for a character that has the threat of imminent death hanging over him everyday. His romantic sequences with co-star Amanda Seyfried are thankfully short as well, so viewers won’t have to listen to him (badly) faking his way through sex, either.

Co-star Amanda Seyfried, on the other hand, continues to impress. Whether she’s fending off bad acting in Jennifer’s Body (2009) or softening up Timberlake in In Time, she seems right on point. After her acting here, viewers may even want to re-visit a film most thought was nothing more than a Twilight (2008) rip-off: Red Riding Hood (2011) (and that’s saying something).

Cillian Murphy, whose resume now includes both Batman Begins (2005) and Inception (2010), is decent as the Timekeeper chasing after Timberlake’s character, but the viewer will notice he doesn’t hold his own as well on-screen as he does under the directing of Christopher Nolan (something to keep in mind, Cillian).

Olivia Wilde, who seems to be everywhere after leaving “House, M.D.” (TV), also appears briefly, and the viewer – while possibly having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea she’s Justin Timberlake’s mother – should be happy once again with her performance.

The basic plot of the film is based around an intriguing dystopian world, where humans have been engineered to age until the age of 25, then rely on a time clock to keep them alive past that age. When time runs out, they die – still looking 25, no matter how many years they’ve lived past that.

It’s an interesting concept, and one that is only briefly explored by the film (is there no disease? The rich only worry about dying “by mistake”). However, that’s only the backdrop for In Time, which turns out to be a more futuristic Bonnie and Clyde (1967) meets Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) story.

So, is In Time worth your time? If you’re looking for a futuristic thriller, this film combines some interesting ideas with some decent action sequences, and with Seyfried helping out Timberlake (although he doesn’t need it as much as we expected in this film), this popcorn-chomper is worth your time.

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