In Time’s premise can be summarised in a single adage: time is money. The film depicts a future world in which lifespan is currency; people stop ageing at 25 and are given just one more year to live. Either you work or you die and, just in case you forget, everyone has a clock on their wrist counting down the seconds. Sadly the film fails to live up to its interesting premise; it suffers from some clunky performances, absurd plotting and a dodgy script.
In a world where your cash is your life, you don’t want to get mugged. So, having saved a wealthy man from Alex Pettyfer’s Minutemen gang, Will Salas (Timberlake) finds himself gifted a century. Cue stodgy pun (don’t waste my time) and Will’s move out of the ghettos to New Greenwich, home of the uber-wealthy. Unfortunately he’s also suspected of murder by the police, known as timekeepers. Cue much action, drama and many, many more weak puns.
Yet awful punning is just one of many problems with the film. A more significant concern is the plot; it is ludicrous, quite frankly, and riddled with holes. In this dystopian future people are segregated by wealth, the rich live forever in their mansions, the poor rot and die in the ghetto and the rest are somewhere in between. Will decides to break the cycle, destroy inequality and save the world. Somewhere along the way he picks up Sylvia (Seyfried), a gorgeous sidekick and banking magnate’s daughter. As such the film turns into a bizarre conflagration of Bonnie and Clyde and Robin Hood.
Timberlake gives a weak performance. He excelled in the Social Network but, while he remains charming and charismatic, he can’t really pull off action hero too well; his attempts at menace just come across as stroppiness, particularly alongside the rather more intimidating Cillian Murphy. Seyfried, by contrast, pouts effectively throughout. Oh, and Alex Pettyfer will never make a gangster, ever.
But the film’s real failing is just a surfeit of silliness. It can be dramatic watching a character race around as their seconds tick down to zero. It’s just not so impressive the twelfth time around. A character who’s spent their whole life working in a factory can’t just hop into a car for the first time and drive like Lewis Hamilton. A man who’s never seen a casino can’t play poker like James Bond. It is internal contradictions and preposterous plot points like these which are In Time’s undoing. The premise may sound decent but, sadly, the film isn’t worth the time of day.