Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew Niccol|
|Written by||Andrew Niccol|
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Edited by||Zach Staenberg|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$174 million|
In Time is a 2011 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and produced by Andrew Niccol. Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy star as people in a society where people stop aging at 25. Instead, a new economic system uses time as currency, and each person has a clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live. The film was released on October 28, 2011.
In 2169, people are genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthday. Everyone then develops a countdown on their forearm set for a year. When the clock reaches zero, that person "times out", or dies. Time has thus become the universal currency, transferred between people or within "time capsules". Two major areas called Time Zones exist within Ohio: Dayton, a poor manufacturing area where people rarely have more than 24 hours on their watch, and Greenwich, which is called New Greenwich, where people have enough time to essentially be immortal.
Will Salas is a Dayton factory worker, who rescues a drunken man named Henry Hamilton from a robbery by a time-robbing thugs led by Fortis. Hamilton reveals that the people of New Greenwich hoard most of the time to live forever, while constantly increasing costs keeps poorer people dying. The next morning, Hamilton transfers 116 years of his time to Will, and times out. Raymond Leon, leader of the police-like Timekeepers erroneously assumes that Will played a part in Hamilton's death.
Will visits his friend Borel, who warns him that having so much time will get him killed. Will gives Borel ten years and goes to meet his mother to leave for New Greenwich together. She uses all but 90 minutes of her time to pay off and dies in Will's arms before he can lend her time.
In New Greenwich, Will visits a casino and meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis and his daughter Sylvia. While playing poker, Will comes dangerously close to timing out but eventually wins more than a millennium in a flawless gamble. Sylvia invites him to a party, and Will buys a new sports car and drives himself to the party. Indoors, Will is arrested by the Timekeepers.
All but two hours of his time are confiscated. Will takes Sylvia as a hostage and returns to Dayton. They are ambushed by Fortis' gang, and are left with 30 minutes each. Will attempts to get some time back from Borel, but he has drunk himself to death. Will calls Weis to demand a 1,000-year ransom to be paid into the time-mission for the desperate. When Weis refuses, Will releases Sylvia anyway. They are ambushed by Raymond, whom Sylvia shoots in the arm to protect Will. They steal his car, and Will gives Raymond enough time to survive.
Will and Sylvia rob Weis' time banks, giving the extra time capsules to the needy. However, the pair soon realize that they cannot significantly change anything, as New Greenwich simply raises prices on Daytoners. So they rob Weis' vault of a one-million-year capsule. Raymond chases them back to Dayton but is too late to stop them from distributing the stolen time. He intends to stop other Daytoners escaping, but times out.
TV reports show factories in Dayton shutting down as everyone has enough time and abandons their jobs to go to New Greenwich. 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.
- Justin Timberlake as Will Salas
- Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia Weis
- Cillian Murphy as Timekeeper Raymond Leon
- Alex Pettyfer as Fortis
- Vincent Kartheiser as Philippe Weis
- Olivia Wilde as Rachel Salas
- Matt Bomer as Henry Hamilton
- Johnny Galecki as Borel
- Collins Pennie as Timekeeper Jaeger
- Ethan Peck as Constantin
- Yaya DaCosta as Greta, Borel's wife
- Rachel Roberts as Carrera
- August Emerson as Levi
- Sasha Pivovarova as Clara Weis (Sylvia's grandmother)
- Jesse Lee Soffer as Webb
- Bella Heathcote as Michele Weis (Sylvia's mother)
- Toby Hemingway as Timekeeper Kors
- 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
- Laura Ashley Samuels as Sagita
Before the film was titled In Time, the names Now and I'm.mortal were used. 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 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.
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.
Using the common device of Future-Retro, the production's vehicle suppliers assembled a fleet of cars and trucks from used car lots and junkyards. Although an ancient 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. Externally this fleet looked immaculate but 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 Citroën 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 1965 short story "'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; 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."
Many of the elements of In Time can be found in the 1987 short film The Price of Life, made by Chanticleer Films. Its basic premise and storyline are so similar that In Time has been called an unacknowledged remake of the earlier film. 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 a 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.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 36% of 163 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating 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". Henry Barnes noted that Will is "one of the 99%" and calls the character "a Rolex Robin Hood".
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.
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