In Time

After a couple of weeks in which I’ve not been able to make it to the cinema due to an excessive number of aches and pains, it was a pleasure to make it tonight to see a film that had my name all over it. In Time fits perfectly with some of the ideas that I’ve been reading about in science fiction over the last few weeks but more than that it has Justin Timberlake in it.

Despite the fact that I blame JT’s movie career for the lack of recent JT albums and even despite my 2007 chicken pox which I blame directly on sitting in the front row of a JT concert in Birmingham, I am drawn to this man on the big screen. There are exceptions proving the rule – and that would be Bad Teacher – but Social Network and now In Time show me how I want to see a film with Justin Timberlake headlining it. Even if it has Amanda Seyfried in it. That’s how big his pull is.

In Time tells the tale of a re-engineered world in which genetic ageing stops when you reach 25 years old. After that the clock on your arm starts ticking and you have a year’s credit. Money is valueless, instead you work for time and you buy with time. A phone call costs a minute but a bus ride home may cost two hours. If you’re unlucky, as the clock counts down on your arm, that may be an hour or so too long. The city is divided into time zones. In the ghettos the price of everything increases hourly – more people will die granting more time to the wealthy. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) saves the life of a man with a century to spare and from that moment on Salas begins his mission to give people time. With him for the ride is Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of the millionaire and therefore eternal Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). Her life has no risk of an end, as a result it’s dull. When you live for ever there is no spice to life. When you live with just a day left to you, every second counts.

As Will and Sylvia fight back against the rich and reclaim time owed to them and to everyone else, they are chased by Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), who is dogged in his pursuit and lives from one minute to the next – not because he doesn’t have time but because there are things more important to him than the time left to him and that doesn’t include himself.

Without doubt, you must suspend belief to appreciate fully the thrills that In Time has in store for you. For one thing, with the biological clock of everyone stopping at 25, it is impossible to judge who is father, mother, daughter, son, sister and brother. With relationships made physically cloudy, it’s not surprising that we have rebellion here. The rich can live forever, at the cost of the poor, and if the poor should gain a decade or two by whatever means there are gangsters ready to steal it off them, through threats or games.

I could list the implausibilities – most of which involve the (in)suitability of Amanda Seyfried’s shoes for the excessive amount of running that’s demanded of her here. And then there are the pairs of beautiful eyes – Amanda Seyfried’s and those of Cillian Murphy. We have the leather and boots of the Timekeepers and the short short skirts and suits of the rich and the attitude of the ghettos. But what we also have is an exciting tale, glamorously executed, with a thrilling premise, with a constant countdown to oblivion keeping us on the edge of our seats, acted out by an array of charismatic actors. I enjoyed every minute of it.

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