||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2012)|
Official film poster
|Directed by||Andrew Niccol|
|Produced by||Andrew Niccol
|Written by||Andrew Niccol|
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Editing by||Zach Staenberg|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century Fox|
|Running time||109 minutes |
In Time (previously titled Now and I'm.mortal) is a dystopian science fiction action film starring Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake. The film, written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol, was released on October 28, 2011.
It is the year 2169 and people have been genetically engineered to be born with a digital clock, bearing 1 year of time, on their forearm. At the age of 25 a person stops aging, but their clock begins counting down; when it reaches zero, that person "times out" and dies instantly. Time on these clocks has become the universal currency; by touching arms, one person can transfer it to another, or to or from a separate clock (a "time capsule") that can be shipped or safely stored in a "time bank". The country is divided into "time zones" based on the wealth of its population. The film focuses on two time zones: Dayton is poor, with a populace that has learned indifference to the timed-out bodies on its streets; and New Greenwich, the wealthiest zone, where inhabitants enjoy the benefits of their immortality and wealth, but are constantly surrounded by bodyguards and spend their time worried about accidental death.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a 28-year-old Dayton factory worker, lives with his mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde). While in a bar, he saves drunken and suicidal 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), a time-rich New Greenwich resident, from an attempted robbery by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), the boss of a gang called "Minute Men". Hamilton reveals to Will the truth about wealth: there is enough time for everyone to live a long life, but New Greenwich citizens take and store most of the time for themselves in order to live forever. In order to maintain the status quo, they continually increase the cost of living in poorer districts. Hamilton tells him that "for a few to be immortal, many must die". Hamilton gives 116 years of his time to a sleeping Will, and leaves behind a message saying "don't waste my time." With 5 minutes remaining, Hamilton walks out to the Dayton bridge to die. The police force, or Timekeepers, led by Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), see Hamilton's clock and realize that his time was taken. They look at video footage and identify Will as a thief.
Will visits his best friend Borel (Johnny Galecki), an alcoholic, to whom he gives 10 years, one year for every year they have been friends, but says goodbye, as he plans to live in New Greenwich with his mother. Meanwhile, Rachel must give all but 90 minutes of her time to pay her debts. When she boards the bus to get back home, she learns the fare has been raised to two hours. Since it's a 2-hour walk home, she is forced to run. When Will sees that Rachel is not on the scheduled bus, he deduces what has happened and begins to run to her. He attempts to save her, but a second before they can touch, she times out and dies.
Will decides to seek revenge and leaves for New Greenwich. Will meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), who possesses 1,000,000 years, and his 27-year-old daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). While playing poker, Will bets all but 30 seconds of his time, but wins back the pot of 1,100 years. Sylvia invites him to a party in the Weis mansion. Soon after Will arrives, he is apprehended by Leon, who confiscates all but two hours of Will's time. Will escapes and takes Sylvia hostage. He returns to Dayton with her, driving into Fortis's ambush, knocking both himself and Sylvia unconscious. Fortis tries to take all of Sylvia's years, but leaves about half an hour.
Will and Sylvia wake up and visit Borel to get back some time, only to learn from Borel's wife Greta (Yaya Alafia) that he died of an alcohol overdose with nine years still left. Sylvia pawns her diamond earrings to buy more time. Will calls Weis and demands a 1,000-year ransom for Sylvia to be distributed to Dayton. Sylvia's mother is willing to pay, but Weis isn't, as Leon has already traced the call.
Will discovers that Weis did not pay, but decides to let Sylvia go. Leon comes to arrest Will, but Sylvia shoots Leon because now she wants to help the poor. Will transfers two hours of time to Leon so that he'll be able to leave Dayton, then they escape in Leon's hijacked car. Will tells Sylvia to run away, but she refuses. Meanwhile, Leon issues a warrant for Sylvia's arrest as well, warning Weis not to help his daughter in any way or he will be arrested. Sylvia helps Will rob time banks, steal time capsules and distributing them to the poor.
When inflation rate rises after another robbery, the pair realize they would need a million years to cause any significant damage to the system, so they break into Weis's private vault and steal a million years. Leon finds them, but Will manages to pass the capsule to a young girl (Shyloh Oostwald), who distributes time to the people. Leon eventually catches up with Will and Sylvia outside the city, holding them at gunpoint. Will deduces that Leon himself is from Dayton but managed to successfully escape. Leon has neglected to replenish his own time before going after them, and he dies. Will and Sylvia are left with mere seconds to live. Will runs to Leon's car and takes Leon's per diem time. Will then runs back to catch Sylvia, in a similar scene to that of his mother, but with a different outcome as he catches Sylvia and gives her time.
Will and Sylvia continue robbing banks as part of their efforts to crash the system, while the rich attempt to cope with the sudden surge of people infiltrating their zone. Lower class workers, now rich with time, cross time zones, signifying the end of inequality. The last scene shows Will and Sylvia preparing to rob a huge time bank to further disrupt the system.
- Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia Weis
- Justin Timberlake as William "Will" Salas
- Cillian Murphy as Timekeeper Raymond "Ray" Leon
- Vincent Kartheiser as Philippe "Phillip" Weis
- Olivia Wilde as Rachel Salas
- Matt Bomer as Henry "Hank" Hamilton
- Johnny Galecki as Borel
- Collins Pennie as Timekeeper Jaeger
- Alex Pettyfer as Fortis
- Ethan Peck as Constantin
- Yaya DaCosta as Greta
- August Emerson as Levi
- Sasha Pivovarova as Clara
- Jesse Lee Soffer as Webb
- Bella Heathcote as Michele Weis
- Toby Hemingway as Timekeeper Kors
- Aubrey Allen as Tyler
- Melissa Ordway as Leila
- Jessica Parker Kennedy as Edouarda
- Christoph Sanders as Nixon
- Jeff Staron as Oris
- Matt O'Leary as Moser
- Nick Lashaway as Ekman
- Ray Santiago as Victa
- Kris Lemche as Markus
- Christiann Castellanos as Jade
On July 12, 2010, it was reported that Amanda Seyfried had been offered a lead role. On July 27, 2010, it was confirmed that Justin Timberlake had been offered a lead role. On August 9, 2010, Cillian Murphy was confirmed to have joined the cast.
In an interview with Kristopher Tapley of InContention.com Roger Deakins stated that he would be shooting the film in digital, which makes this the first film to be shot in digital by the veteran cinematographer.
The Dayton scenes were filmed primarily in the Skid Row and Boyle Heights neighborhoods of Los Angeles, while the New Greenwich scenes were filmed primarily in Century City, Bel Air, and Malibu. Despite the name of the "ghetto zone" suggesting Dayton, OH and the name of the "rich zone" suggesting Greenwich, CT, the maps used by the Timekeepers are maps of Los Angeles, CA. But the names "Dayton" and "Greenwich" both refer to time, and were more likely chosen for that reason than for any relation to present-day geography. Residents of "Dayton" live on about a days worth of time whereas residents of "Greenwich" enjoy living at the namesake of the source of all time zones.
Using the common device of Future-Retro, the production's vehicle suppliers assembled a prodigious fleet of cars and trucks from used car lots and junkyards. Although an ancient Citroen DS21 and Cadillac Seville feature, center stage goes to a fleet of, seemingly, immaculate, Dodge Challengers and suicide door Lincoln Continentals. The rich drive around in the high gloss Lincolns, all of which have been smoothed, lowered and fitted with over-sized disc wheels on low profile rubber. The Dodges are the Time Keeper's cop cars. These too have been smoothed and externally customized, with grilles front and rear covering the lights, and low profile tires on disc wheels. In stark contrast to the Lincolns, paintwork is matte black. A slim police light-bar is fitted internally, behind the windshield. Externally this fleet may have looked immaculate but internally it was a different story. No money was spent on what would not be seen and many of the vehicles had wrecked interiors, with ripped seats, carpets and head-linings. Because the cars had been assembled from many sources and prepared to look identical, the interiors of most were of a color which did not match the black exteriors. The best of the Lincoln Continentals, for instance, whose interior is seen in the production, is trimmed out in blue.
The use of future retro is one of many elements that the film seems to share with Niccol's earlier work, Gattaca. The earlier work also features electrically-powered vintage cars (notably a Rover P6 and again, a Citroen DS), as well as buildings of indeterminate age. Gattaca also deals with innate inequalities (though in its case genetic, rather than longevity) and the film's protagonist also seeks to cross the divide that his birthright is supposed to deny him. Similarly, he is pursued by law enforcement officers after being wrongly identified as having committed a murder.
On September 15, 2011, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a suit was filed by attorneys on behalf of speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison that the film's plot was based on his award-winning 1965 short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman". The suit, naming New Regency and director Andrew Niccol as well as a number of anonymous John Does, appears to base its claim on the similarity that both the completed film along with Ellison's story concern a dystopian future in which people have a set amount of time to live which can be revoked, given certain pertaining circumstances by a recognized authority known as a Timekeeper. Initially, the suit demanded an injunction against the film's release; however, Ellison later altered his suit to instead ask for screen credit before ultimately dropping the suit, with both sides releasing the following joint statement: "After seeing the film In Time, Harlan Ellison decided to voluntarily dismiss the Action. No payment or screen credit was promised or given to Harlan Ellison. The parties wish each other well, and have no further comment on the matter."
A very early instance of a storyline with time as currency occurs in "Mandrake and the Goldman", a Lee Falk comic issue based on the popular Mandrake the Magician character, and published in India in the year 1972. It is possible that the original US publication of this comic happened before publication of the Harlan Ellison short story.
Many of the elements of In Time can be found in the 1987 short film The Price of Life, which aired on PBS as part of their "American Playhouse" series. The Price of Life was a 38-minute short film (story by Stephen Tolkin and Michel Monteaux) in which a time account is physically linked to every infant at birth, with death automatic when the balance drops to zero. An elite upper-class is portrayed as living hundreds of years or more. The protagonist is given a certain amount of time as an infant, and as young boy adds days and years to his time account by buying valuables from people and selling them to visiting tourists from the rich enclave. After his sister dies after gambling away her time, the protagonist (now a young man) sets out on a journey to the enclave of "the Old Ones" in order to save the life of his mother, who is (literally) running out of time. He gets there and meets a beautiful older woman who co-opts him into the immortal lifestyle. Despite the striking parallels in the basic plot and storyline, the movie In Time gives no acknowledgment to this film.
A short story entitled Time is Money, by Lee Falk (the creator of the comic strip Mandrake the Magician), appeared in the December 1975 issue of Playboy. It portrays a society that includes many of the elements later used in In Time, a society in which time is the currency for its inhabitants and when someone runs out of time, he dies on the spot. It includes a timekeeper implanted in the body, time banks, transactions by handshakes, no aging, and social class differences according to accumulated time. The movie In Time did not give any acknowledgment to Lee Falk for his story either.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 36% of 152 critics gave the movie a positive review, with a rating average of 5.2 out of 10. The website's consensus reads, "In Time's intriguing premise and appealing cast are easily overpowered by the blunt, heavy-handed storytelling."  Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 53 based on 36 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-minus" on an A+ to F scale. Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review with 3 stars out of 4, noting that the "premise is damnably intriguing", but "a great deal of this film has been assembled from standard elements".
Box office performance
The film opened at #3, behind Puss in Boots and Paranormal Activity 3, with $12,050,368. It earned $37,520,095 domestically and $136,410,501 overseas for a total of $173,930,596 worldwide, making it a success against its $40 million budget.
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- Ellison wants ‘In Time’ concessions — only asks for credit?
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- Official website
- In Time at the Internet Movie Database
- In Time at allmovie
- In Time at Box Office Mojo
- In Time at Rotten Tomatoes
- In Time at Metacritic
- Official Trailer