A movie that opens as well as this one does—and draws you in so effectively—ought to have a finale that doesn’t remind you of some cheesy sci-fi movie. On the other hand, the premise is so damn intriguing that I have to cut the movie some slack. “In Time” takes place in a world where you can buy things with time instead of money. For instance: would you be willing to buy 10 minutes of sex with an hour of your life? Or better yet, would you gamble 50 years of your life on a game of poker? The market in time is almost everywhere. In this world, humans have some kind of digital clock on their forearms, showing off the years, months, days and hours. We are told that nobody lives past 26, unless they were rich, therefore can buy more time (yes a millionaire can live to be a million years). Justin Timberlake stars as Will Salas, a citizen of that world. One day, Will has a conversation with a man named Henry Hamilton, who explains he is 100 years old. He’s also tired of living. As he explains: “no one should be immortal”. Their conversation drags on until both fall asleep. When Will wakes up, he finds an extra century on his clock. Soon enough, our man find himself on the run from “The time keeper” (Cillian Murphy), who suspects Will of murdering Henry Hamilton. But enough about the plot. As the story continues it veers more and more into B-movie territory, introducing such familiar character types as an unfeeling millionaire (played by Vincent Kartheiser), and his gentle daughter (Amanda Seyfried). With people like that around, and Timberlake on the run, it’s clear where the movie is heading…perhaps a bit too clear.
But if this film is remembered, it won’t be for its storyline, which reverts to cliché a bit too often as it approaches its climax, but for its clever premise. That said, I wish I liked the ending better—not just the climax leading up to it, but the actual story resolution. I’m not sure if the last scene is supposed to be a set-up for a sequel. Either way, shouldn’t a big picture like this have a real, satisfying finish as well as an open door for a followup?
Categories: The Twenty-First Century