In Time

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In Time
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Niccol
Written byAndrew Niccol
Produced by
CinematographyRoger Deakins
Edited byZach Staenberg
Music byCraig Armstrong
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
Running time
109 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[4]
Box office$174 million[5]

In Time is a 2011 American science fiction action film written, co-produced, and directed by Andrew Niccol. Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried star as inhabitants of a society that uses time from one's lifespan as its primary currency, with each individual possessing a clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live. Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, and Alex Pettyfer also star. The film was released on October 28, 2011, and grossed $174 million against a $40 million budget. It received negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which praised the premise but called the execution heavy-handed.


In 2169, people are genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthdays and are given one free year to live. Everyone has a timer on their forearm that shows their remaining time; when it reaches zero, the person "times out" and instantly dies.

Time is now the universal currency, transferred directly between people or stored in capsules. The country is divided into Time Zones; Dayton is the poorest, a ghetto where people rarely have more than 24 hours on their timer. New Greenwich is the richest, people there are effectively immortal.

Factory worker Will Salas lives in Dayton with his mother Rachel. One night, he rescues drunken Henry Hamilton from time thief Fortis and his gang the Minutemen. Hamilton reveals that the people of New Greenwich hoard their time while constantly increasing prices to keep the poor dying.

Hamilton transfers all his time to a sleeping Will before deliberately timing out and dying. Raymond Leon, the leader of the police-like Timekeepers, assumes that Will killed Hamilton and pursues him.

Will's friend Borel warns him against having so much time in Dayton. Will gives Borel ten years, one for each year of their friendship. Will sets off to meet his mother, intending to take her to New Greenwich. His mother times out and dies in his arms, less than a second before he could transfer time to her and save her life. Will vows to avenge his mother's death by taking the people of New Greenwich for everything they have.

In a New Greenwich casino, Will meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis and his daughter Sylvia. Will wins over a millennium at poker while nearly timing himself out. Sylvia invites him to a party. Leon arrests Will and confiscates all but two hours of his time.

Will takes Sylvia hostage and escapes to Dayton, but Fortis's gang ambushes them, leaving them with 30 minutes each. Will attempts to get some time back from Borel, but his wife Greta explains that he has drunk himself to death. They get a day each by pawning Sylvia's earrings. Will demands Weis pay a 1,000-year ransom to the people in Dayton in exchange for Sylvia's safe return. Weis refuses, and Will releases Sylvia just as Leon finds them. Sylvia shoots Leon in the arm, and Will gives him enough time to survive until the other Timekeepers arrive. They use Leon's car to pull over a New Greenwich resident whom they rob of her time and car.

Will and Sylvia rob her father's time banks and give time capsules to the needy. They realize they can't significantly change anything, as prices are raised faster to compensate for the extra time. Fortis's gang ambushes them to collect the reward for their capture, but Will kills him and his gang. Will and Sylvia steal a one-million year capsule from her father's vault. Leon chases them back to Dayton but fails to stop them distributing the stolen time. Leon times out, having neglected to collect his day's salary. Will and Sylvia nearly time out themselves but survive by taking his salary.

TV reports show factories in Dayton shutting down as everyone has enough time to abandon their jobs. Having seen the consequences of his obsession with the pair, Leon's colleague Jaeger orders the Timekeepers to return home. Will and Sylvia progress to larger banks, still trying to crash the system.



Before the film was titled In Time, the names Now and I'm.mortal were used.[6] On July 12, 2010, it was reported that Amanda Seyfried had been offered a lead role.[7] On July 27, 2010, it was confirmed that Justin Timberlake had been offered a lead role.[8] On August 9, 2010, Cillian Murphy was confirmed to have joined the cast.[9]

The first photos from the set were revealed on October 28, 2010.[10] 20th Century Fox and New Regency distributed the film, and Marc Abraham and Eric Newman's Strike Entertainment produced it.[11]

In an interview with Kristopher Tapley of In Contention, 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.[12]

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. Although the names of the ghetto-like zone and wealthy enclave reflect Dayton and Greenwich, respectively, the maps used by the Timekeepers are maps of Los Angeles.

For the retrofuturistic setting, the production's vehicle suppliers assembled a fleet of cars and trucks from used car lots and junkyards. Although an old Citroën DS 21 and Cadillac Seville feature, center stage goes to a fleet of seemingly immaculate Dodge Challengers and Lincoln Continentals. The rich drive around in the high gloss Lincolns, all of which have been smoothed, lowered and fitted with oversized 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.

The use of retrofuturism is one of many elements that the film shares with Niccol's earlier work, Gattaca; Niccol himself referred to it as "the bastard child of Gattaca".[13] That film also features electrically powered vintage cars (notably a Rover P6 and again, a Citroën DS), as well as buildings of indeterminate age. Gattaca also deals with innate inequalities (though in its case genetic, rather than longevity) and also features a character seeking 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.

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

On September 15, 2011, a lawsuit was filed against the film by attorneys acting on behalf of Harlan Ellison, author of "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman". The suit, naming New Regency, director Andrew Niccol and a number of anonymous John Does, appears to base its claim on the similarity that both the completed film and 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;[14] however, Ellison later altered his suit to instead ask for screen credit[15] 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."[16]


Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 37% of 175 critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.30/10. The website's consensus reads, "In Time's intriguing premise and appealing cast are easily overpowered by the blunt, heavy-handed storytelling."[17] 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.[18] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-minus" on an A+ to F scale.[19] 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".[20] Henry Barnes noted that Will is "one of the 99%" and calls the character "a Rolex Robin Hood".[21]

Box office[edit]

In Time grossed $12 million on its opening weekend, debuting at number three behind Puss in Boots, and Paranormal Activity 3. The film declined later on during its 14 weekend box office run. The film eventually grossed over $37.5 million in the US and $136.4 million internationally for a worldwide total of $173.9 million.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "In Time (2011)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on October 11, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  2. ^ Ng, Philiana (October 20, 2010). "'In Time' Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 31, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "IN TIME (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. October 11, 2011. Archived from the original on October 9, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  4. ^ Kaufman, Amy (October 27, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Puss in Boots' to stomp on competition". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "In Time". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 10, 2020. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Rich, Katey (November 1, 2010). "I'm.mortal Retitled Now, Adds Alex Pettyfer And Matt Bomer To Cast". Cinema Blend. Archived from the original on October 11, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  7. ^ Gallagher, Brian (July 12, 2010). "Amanda Seyfried Signs on to I'm.mortal". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  8. ^ Douglas, Edward (July 27, 2012). "Justin Timberlake Leading I'm.mortal?". Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  9. ^ Gallagher, Brian (August 9, 2010). "Cillian Murphy to Star in I'm.mortal". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  10. ^ "Timberlake and Seyfried Spotted Filming Their New Thriller". October 28, 2010. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Sneider, Jeff (August 9, 2010). "Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy in Talks to Join 'I'm.mortal". TheWrap. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  12. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (December 22, 2010). "TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: 'True Grit' cinematographer Roger Deakins". In Contention. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  13. ^ Capps, Robert (October 6, 2011). "Director Calls In Time 'Bastard Child of Gattaca'". Wired. Archived from the original on August 15, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  14. ^ Gardner, Eriq (September 15, 2011). "Harlan Ellison Sues Claiming Fox's 'In Time' Rips Off Sci-Fi Story (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  15. ^ Moore, Roger (August 26, 2014). "Ellison wants 'In Time' concessions — only asks for credit?". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  16. ^ O'Neill, Brian (December 1, 2011). "Ellison drops lawsuit after watching In Time". Sci-Fi Storm. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  17. ^ "In Time (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on March 14, 2024. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  18. ^ "In Time Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Finke, Nikki (October 30, 2011). "Snow Ices Box Office: 'Puss In Boots' #1, 'Paranormal' #2, 'In Time' #3, 'Rum Diary' #4". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 30, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  20. ^ Ebert, Roger. "In Time". Archived from the original on October 23, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  21. ^ Barnes, Henry (November 4, 2011). "In Time – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2018.

External links[edit]