Justin Timberlake headlines this lackluster sci-fi take on Bonnie & Clyde.
It’s not a good sign when the only laughs a film gets are during the should–be–romantic lip–lock scenes. But that’s just how little chemistry Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried have in director and writer Andrew Niccol’s new sci-fi thriller, In Time.
In the world of Will Salas (Timberlake), time is the new currency. All citizens stop aging at 25, and are programmed with one year of life after this point. Thus, the rich can live forever, while the poor live a depressingly–short one day at a time.
When a wealthy 105–year–old man (Matt Bomer) gifts his remaining century of a life to Will, government officials accuse Will of murder, and so begins a wild goose chase. Along the way, Will picks up Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried, sporting a semi–scary red bob), a mogul’s daughter, as a way to escape the “timekeepers” and destroy the unjust system as the life clocks emblazoned on their arms tick away.
The dystopian world is supposed to provide a commentary on our society. “For a few to be immortal, many must die,” observes the internally elderly man who is ready to “time out.” The could–be clever premise falls flat as the screenplay blatantly incorporates the apparent greater meaning into the dialogue, leaving little to subtlety. Occupy Wall Street protests come to mind a little too easily as Will complains of the elite hogging all the time as the masses scrape by with just hours on their clocks.
Timberlake’s acting is forced at best. It is a noble attempt at transitioning to action after several romantic comedies, but both he and Seyfried seem to struggle to grasp the severity of the situation as their clocks dwindle, making the urgent dialogue of their characters seem phony.
Overall, Seyfried’s Sylvia is completely undeveloped, and makes far too many flirtatious jokes for a kidnapped rich girl with minutes on her clock. The supporting cast includes Cillian Murphy as head timekeeper, Alex Pettyfer as a lowlife who steals time from the poor and an underutilized Olivia Wilde as Will’s mother (get it?).
In Time had the potential to be a gripping and pertinent film, but it falls flat with its lack of credibility. Niccol forces the audience to swallow the societal relevance with an overdramatic screenplay riddled with eye–roll–inducing, predictable kisses in the heat of the action.
Maybe if they’d cast Mila Kunis?
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried
Rated PG-13, 109 min.
See if you liked: Clockstoppers (2002)