Justin Timberlake will have to wait for another movie another time to get classified as a kick-ass, bona fide action star. In Time, in which he runs around and punches people a lot, is an intensely bad movie, an OK idea gone horribly awry.
Timberlake plays Will Salas, a factory worker living in a world where humans have been genetically engineered to die when they’re 25. After they live two and a half decades, their bodies stop aging and they must work or fight or steal for extra time on their lives. If the extra time they’ve earned runs out, they die.
So time is the new money, and everybody knows how much time they have because of a glowing, green time display on their forearm. The movie provides no explanation for how time can just show up on somebody’s arm like a super high-class Casio. Also, you can steal or give time to somebody by thinking of how much you want to steal or give, and simply holding their hand.
This future world created by writer-director Andrew Niccol (who made the decent Gattaca) is totally ridiculous and implausible. Good science fiction comes up with future ideas that we can sort of accept as a possibility. The stuff Niccol comes up with is laughably preposterous.
Will sees some handsome guy (Matt Bomer) in a bar flaunting a lot of time, and rescues him from a bunch of guys trying to steal it (time bandits?). They chat, hang out for a while and fall asleep. Handsome Guy then transfers all of his time to Will shortly before ending his own life because immortality equals boredom. Will is suspected of Handsome Guy’s murder and becomes a fugitive from the law, mainly “Timekeeper” Raymond Leon, played by Cillian Murphy.
With all sorts of time on his hands (pun intended), Will goes to a casino. One thing leads to another and he winds up kidnapping time heiress Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), whose dad Philippe (Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser) is in possession of many, many years. Sylvia eventually gets Stockholm syndrome for Will, and starts robbing her dad’s time banks like a futuristic Patricia Hearst.
As for Seyfried, it’s like Niccol set out to make her as unattractive as possible and succeeded. The often-luminous actress is saddled with a red flip wig and dark eye makeup that makes her look like Velma from Scooby-Doo, minus the glasses, after a weekend heroin binge.
The look of this film is super dull. Washed-out grays, standard automobiles in disguise, and uninventive wardrobe choices—that wig!—make In Time an eyesore.
The pacing feels as disjointed and disconnected as Roger Waters and David Gilmour after they made The Final Cut album. OK, maybe the Pink Floyd reference is a little obscure, but those guys really did hate each other!
The pieces of this movie just don’t fit together. Scenes haphazardly bump up next to each other like Roger Waters and David Gilmour at their Live Aid reunion. They were in the same place, but boy, was it awkward—OK, no more Pink Floyd references.
Timberlake looks OK pointing a gun, and he hits people with major authority. However, his running style is a little robotic. He does an arm-swinging-while-running thing that makes him look like Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in Terminator 2.
Cillian Murphy, spit out that gum. Nothing sucks more than an actor trying to look tough by chewing gum. Who do you think you are—Keanu Reeves?
The coolest thing about the movie is that Olivia Wilde plays Timberlake’s mom. That’s it for cool. The rest of In Time is a promising premise sporting a really bad wig.