This movie had a brilliant premise: everyone is genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, you’re given one more year beyond that, and time is a currency. When you run out, you die. Unfortunately ideas aren’t original, especially when Harlan Ellison had it first. I never read ‘Repent, Harlequin!’ but I might now considering how spectacularly In Time botched its attempt.
That’s not to say the movie isn’t enjoyable on certain levels. Justin Timberlake is very fun to watch, and the girl with the really big eyes is really pretty. And Olivia Wilde’s five seconds in the movie are inspired. She dies, just so you know, but the way she dies is spectacular. And since she dies in the first 15 minutes (proving there really is no justice in the world), I recommend you try standing in the back of the theatre before moving on to something else.
The thing the movie spent most of its time on (ha) was working the metaphor of how the rich get rich while the poor die. You see, there’s a limited amount of resources so in order to let the Rockefellers of the world live forever, a lot of people have to die in the ghetto. You can’t leave your timezone without spending an exorbitant amount of time and the second anyone has more time than they should, a Timekeeper runs in to confiscate it. They’re kindof jackasses like that. Anyway, Justin Timberlake is given over a century, and through a series of events he goes all Bonnie and Clyde with Big Eye Girl. They flood the market with time in order to collapse the system.
If I were a very, very cynical person I would spend the rest of this article developing a conspiracy theory that the Occupy Wall Street protests were organized by the film’s producers. However, since the movie hasn’t been working that angle, they’re either very good at covering their tracks or it’s completely coincidental. Or one of those ‘it’s in the air supply’ kindof things, like how the movie Wag the Dog came out right as Bill Clinton started bombing Kosovo during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
I think my biggest issue of the movie is they were never quite sure as to what type of movie they wanted to be. They skipped over the how and the why the system was created, and they also skipped over how the system manages to perpetuate itself. The Millionaire Who Wants to Die (and gives JT his century) says that there’s ‘more than enough’ (time that is) and that no one has to die. Okay.
But then the Earth is going to effing die. The world cannot support billions upon billions of non-aging individuals. Actually, given the state of the world around them, I’m pretty sure the earth already died so maybe that’s not a concern to them. Okay. Well, if Time is your currency and all of the sudden everyone has a ton of it… what’s going to be the impetus to create things like… food. And other things necessary for survival. I would’ve liked at least one nod to that problem. Maybe it’s implied that once the rich can no longer use the time currency to kill off the poor, they’ll move onto some other economic system. But seriously guys, you’re not going to establish Utopia. We are constantly redefining what’s ‘enough.’ You think the rich aren’t going to find some new way to exploit the working class?
Everyone knows that the only way to move to a perfectly harmonious world without currency, without strife or inequality, is when the Vulcans arrive and help us establish Star Fleet.