Dystopia is a term we hear now and then but don’t always realize what it truly means. Most of the time when we think of dystopian futures, we have thoughts of tyrannical governments, like in V for Vendetta, or worldwide calamities, like Waterworld shows.
But there are some dystopian futures that we don’t often think of, most notably one made by technology. The most notable film with a dystopian technological future is The Matrix, but one that doesn’t usually get looked at is the film In Time.
In Time’s dystopia comes from the population being genetically engineered to use time as a form of currency. Using time for currency allows the rich to live forever while the poor fight over mere minutes or days. It’s an exciting concept that takes the term “time is money” and makes it a critical aspect of this world.
In Time sets up an intriguing universe as its premise that could be explored all throughout its history. How horrible would the economy have to be to switch from paper and coin currency to time? With all the time and work it would take to inherently genetically mutate the whole human species to stop aging at 25 and then run off a clock, why would people do all that work?
Even with the questions of how and why the human race would get to this point, there are so many stories that could be told that revolve around the idea that “time is money.” Is there a mafia? And, if so, how do they work out?
This one small change in the human species could lead to so many stories where the time dynamic would add a level of intrigue that would make it even more interesting.
In Time is lead by Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, as Will Salas and Sylvia Weis, repectively. Will Salas lives with his mom Rachel, played by Olivia Wilde, and works at a plant making devices that hold time with Johnny Galecki’s Borel.
Sylvia Weis, on the other hand, is living in New Greenwich with her time-loaning magnate father Philippe, played by Vincent Kartheiser.
Murphy, perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Johnathin Crane/Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, puts in the best performance in this film. He drew me into his character and made me believe he felt the way he said he did.
In Time is not a classic film, but it is one that I enjoy. It has this universe that could allow for many different kinds of stories, but there are times when some of the elements in this one don’t always work. And even with Cillian Murphy’s solid acting, there are times when the leads don’t always pull in the audience.
With a rating of PG-13, In Time has a fair amount of violent scenes and at least one intimate scene with Amanda Seyfried in her underwear. It is for these two reasons that I wouldn’t recommend this film for younger children. I would, though, recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction films set in dystopian futures.