tek's rating:

In Time (PG-13)
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So apparently this came out in 2011. I didn't see it until 2017, but... I know I usually don't see most movies until years after they come out (sometimes even decades), but I really didn't feel like this could have come out six years before I saw it. But whatever. Anyway, Wikipedia says it's set in 2169. I don't recall seeing or hearing a year mentioned in the movie, but again, whatever. The premise is, people are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, but then they just have a year to live... unless they can get more time. Because time is now the official currency, and everyone has like a digital clock in their arms that tells them how much time they have until they die. If the countdown reaches zero... that's it. You're dead. I think the movie has some good metaphors for our own society. Like, about "wasting time." And about living day to day (which is like paycheck to paycheck). And of course about the wealth gap. Also there are "time zones," which we don't learn much about, but it seems the people with the most time on their hands live in the most affluent zones.

Anyway, the movie's protagonist is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), who is 28 years old. He lives with his 50-year-old mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde), so we immediately get a sense of how weird (from our perspective) the whole "no aging" thing is. Because of course Rachel looks no older than her son. I also want to mention that people can transfer time to each other's clocks by, like, holding each other's arms. But there are also devices people can use to exchange time. In an ironic twist, Will works in a factory that mass produces such devices. But I think the first time we see one used is before he gets to work, when he gives some time to a little girl named Maya. (After watching the movie, when I was checking IMDb, I discovered she was played by the actress who played Piper in the webseries Spooked, which I thought was cool.) And, um, Will's best friend is a guy named Borel (Johnny Galecki).

One night, after work, Will and Borel are out at a bar, where a stranger with over a century on his clock is buying everyone drinks. Then some gangsters called "Minutemen" come in, and everyone runs away. Except the stranger. He seems to have a death wish, or something. Also, Will stays behind and watches from afar, and later rescues the stranger, who doesn't seem to want to be rescued. While they hide out in an abandoned building, the stranger, whose name is Henry Hamilton, tells Will that for some people to be immortal, many must die. That's the reason that the cost of living keeps going up in the lower-income zones. Obviously, if people keep having kids, and no one ever dies, eventually there will be no room left for everyone. I actually think that's an interesting topic that bears examination, but the movie quickly sets it aside, in favor of the question of whether there's enough "time" for everyone. Which, of course, there is. (Just like here in real world America, there's plenty of money for everyone, but the richest people horde it and basically steal from poor and middle class people. What I say? Metaphors.) Anyway, when Will is asleep, Henry transfers all but five minutes of his time to him. Will wakes up soon after Henry leaves, and through the window, sees him sitting on the railing of a bridge over a window, across the street. Will runs to try to save him, but he's too late. Henry's time runs out, and he falls into the river, dead.

Subsequently, Rachel dies when her own time runs out, before Will can give her any of his newfound wealth. That was pretty damn tragic. But he'd always wanted to take her to a time zone called New Greenwich, and now he goes there himself. He intends to take down the corrupt system, and starts by gambling with the rich people who live there. Mainly, this means Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser, whom I knew from Angel and "Mad Men"). He owns a time bank, or whatever, so of course he's a prime example of the system that steals from the poor. And Will meets Philippe's daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), who is tired of her boring, risk-free life. So she and Will immediately hit it off. However, the police (or "Timekeepers"), led by a detective named Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), had seen security footage of the bridge where Henry Hamilton had died. They didn't see how he died, but they did see that Will was there. So they assume he killed Henry and stole his time. They show up at the casino where Will had been playing poker against Philippe, and arrest Will. But he escapes, kidnaps Sylvia, and goes on the run. However, the police do manage to take almost all of Will's time first. And later, the Minutemen steal most of Sylvia's time. So they're both desperate to get more time, or they'll die.

So... a lot happens that I don't want to spoil. But as the story progressed, it reminded me of various other things. Like, Sylvia soon becomes Will's ally rather than his hostage, and together they put me in mind of Bonnie and Clyde (not that I know much about them). But more than that, they reminded me of Robin Hood, stealing time from the rich and giving to the poor. Also, Leon's obsessive desire to stop them put me in mind of Inspector Javert, from "Les Miserables." And, I dunno what else to tell you. It's decent as an action movie, and as a sci-fi movie, and as a message (or metaphor) movie. I do think it could have been better... but I'll admit some of the things I might have found better storywise, probably would have made it a bit more boring, as well as morally ambiguous. So whatever. I liked it, and objectively speaking, it's probably more entertaining as is.

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