TIME IS MONEY
And in the world of this film, it really is. The year is 2161 and science has allowed humans to stop aging after 25. People are now genetically-engineered to live only one more year after 25 and a clock, which is displayed on an implant on their arm, begins to start ticking down. When the clock reaches zero, one dies or “times out” but one can accrue more time by working or transferring time between living human beings. Time is also bartered like money to pay for everyday necessities and societies are divided by “Time Zones” where the rich live in a luxurious city called New Greenwich and the poor live in the ghetto called Dayton. While the poor slave away to live for each day, the rich often gamble away their time for sport and have enough time to live for centuries.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a lowly factory worker who lives in the ghetto with his mother, Rachel (Olivia Wilde).
When Will saves a rich 105 year-old man named Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from being robbed by a mobster, Henry tells him that being immortal isn’t all that its cracked up to be. He gives a sleeping Will 116 years and commits suicide before Will can stop him.
Caught on a surveillance camera for being at the crime scene, Will is chased by the Timekeepers led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), the police force, and the Minutemen, the mobsters that were after Hamilton’s time. When Will’s mother dies because she “times out”, Will decides to leave his poor past behind and escapes into New Greenwich.
Aaah, idol pop singers. Perhaps it’s because he’s Justin Timberlake. Honestly, I want to bash his acting but he’s actually kinda good at it. And he’s believable as the underdog that decides to become a Robin Hood-like character that wants to steal from the rich and give to the poor.
However, I don’t think his acting is that good where his chemistry with Amanda Seyfried really worked for me. Seyfried plays Sylvia, the daughter of the richest man in New Greenwich who’s got a bit of the rebellious spirit. Through Will, Sylvia becomes aware of the world beyond New Greenwich and because of it, she decides to help Will.
So they’ve got this Bonnie and Clyde thing going on but there was so much time given to setting up this world that not enough time was given to establishing relationships. When Sylvia decides to actively help Will, it comes late in the film and it seems abrupt. This is a problem where there’s too much that needs to be explained to make a connection between our main characters. And certainly Timberlake and Seyfried aren’t experienced enough actors to make me believe that their sudden attraction is so electric that it can’t be ignored.
I think the movie would have been easier to digest without Sylvia. Granted a lot of things would need to be reworked since Will goes after Philippe Weis’ (Vincent Kartheiser) money, Sylvia’s father, and the film pits daughter against father. However, I know that Vincent Kartheiser could totally sell greed is good without the family angle.
The first half of the film is fascinating because you’re learning how this world functions. It’s allegorical and extremely timely considering our economy and the whole ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. However, it does fall flat later as the film relies on commonplace plot advancements. If it was going to follow the lead of any sci-fi movie, I wish it had taken a lesson from V for Vendetta’s plot.