In Time – Movie Review!
Andrew Niccol’s "In Time" is the winner of this year’s "Most Obvious and Pun-Filled Allegory" competition and while it gets points for an excellent premise, some fine acting and for being, occasionally, genuinely exciting, the execution of the idea fails
far more often than it succeeds.
"In Time" is set in some future time/alternate reality Los Angeles (the locations are referred to as Dayton and New Greenwich but it’s all too obviously L.A.) where humans cease aging at 25 with only an additional one year on their internal clocks, displayed
as a sub-dermal, glowing digital countdown on their forearms. Everyone in the film is young and (mostly) beautiful and aside from running out of time, people can only die by acts of violence, random or otherwise — disease is apparently nonexistent.
But more time can be earned (or stolen) so those who are wealthy live, while those who are poor die. As a result, the poor take risks because they have nothing to lose, while the rich play it very safe, some refusing to take even minuscule physical risks
like swimming in the ocean.
The poor, those short on time, live in Dayton (downtown L.A., near the river) and if they have jobs at all, they live literally day-to-day, hoping that they can get enough work to purchase another day on their clocks. Those without jobs resort to begging
or "fighting," a sort of arm-wrestling for time. Many work in a factory that makes time storage devices that can be used to move time around from place to place or person to person, like a wallet with money in it.
As with most films set in a poor neighbourhood, the denizens of Dayton have dreams. In general, to have enough time so that they can live a decent life without having to wake up every day, thinking it’s their last. They are literally slaves to time, forced
to beg, steal or work at sub-standard wages simply in order to live.
While this set-up should give ample opportunity for visual and emotional shock, Dayton is spectacularly clean and well organized for what’s essentially a factory slum. The only indication that the locals are in any peril at all is the (very) occasional shot
of a dead "timed out" body on the street. You’d think it would happen more often.