In the year 2169 the world has become a place where time has become currency. Andrew Niccol’s presents us with an intriguing story of a dystopian future were humanity has been bioengineered to stop aging at 25, being genetically engineered to be born with a chilling green countdown. Though they stop aging, their clock begins to start ticking away and if a person’s clock reaches zero they “time out” and die. Imagine a world where bus fares shave off minuets off your life or even buying a drink can take two hours off your life. Countries are divided into time zones based on the wealth of its population. Where the poor time zoned areas are littered with bodies that have timed-out, the wealthier zoned areas inhabit their immortality and enjoy their wealth, only worried that only an accidental death can kill them.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a hard working factory employee that lives in Dayton with his mum Rachel Salas (Olivia Wilde). Dayton is one of the poorest timed areas so seeing bodies that have timed out on the streets is a norm for them. One day at a bar Will saves a drunken and suicidal man Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who has a time of a century from bandits that are called “Minutemen”. Hamilton reveals to Will the truth about the wealth; that there is enough time for everyone to live long lives. However the citizens of New Greenwich, the richest timed zone, keep the time for themselves which increases the cost of living for the poor so that they can live forever. When Will falls asleep Hamilton gives 116 years of his own time all but 5 minutes. He leaves the sleeping Will and walks to the Dayton Bridge and willingly times out. When Will wakes up he finds a message “Don’t Waste My Time”. With his new found wealth Will now travels to the New Greenwich and embarks on a mission to fight the system and share the wealth with all the time zones.
“For a few to be immortal, many must die” is the perfect quote that defines In Time, a film that focuses on Darwinian capitalism when only the strongest can survive. In Time is a fascinating look into this new ideology that defines currency with time. That the value of gold or silver doesn’t even matter but rather someone’s own life can define how long they can live. Niccol beautifully grasps our existing world and ideology with In Time worlds and puts it to the extreme. This is a world where the poor are sentenced to poverty and premature death of being timed out, when the rich enjoy the luxury of leisure’s and immortality protected by the “Timekeepers” who enforce the times zones. Just like in 1997 with Gattaca, Andrew exquisitely creates a world when technology and style from the past are portrayed to be more advanced than our century. When bandits like the “Minutemen” drive around in electric powered retro cars stealing time from innocent people and “Timekeepers” dressed in black with long leather black rain coats, enforce the law of time and treat the citizens of Dayton as subhuman. A cruel reminder of how these men resemble the Nazi secret service Gestapo.
Even though the premise to In Time is a fascinating and an intriguing look in the future, it still none the less didn’t have as much creative power and drive as Gattaca did. Niccol does bring up some captivating questions focused on the concept that big companies and business live and breathe off the labour of the poor. That being born in a system that when you a poor you will always be poor and never given the chance to leave. When Will Salas escapes from the Dayton ghetto for the New Greenwich, timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) describes that "time can't leave like that; time has to stay in its place." Niccol’s vision shows that the entire sociological structure is based on income inequality and social crusaders.