I am astonished that all reviews here are negative. My impression is that all their authors assumed that they are going to see some other movie, some of these movie are even mentioned, like "Planet of the apes" or "2001: A Space Odyssey" (the last one is one of the most boring and pretentious movies I ever managed to watch till the end).
People complain about such irrelevant things as how the guns and cars will look in the future. pvtcaboose91 complains that the movie does not include a treatise about science, medicine, and politics of the depicted future. Perhaps this is just his type of humor (see his profile page), but then he miscalculated the effect. moviemaniac126 seems to believe that the movie takes "it to Bonnie and Clyde proportions with both leads male and female". I am not sure if this is good or bad for him. Anyhow, it is not a shame to learn something from “Bonnie and Clyde”. Following Richard Rush I believe that one cannot have a good movie without a good female lead. Enough of polemics.
The movie is not about future (it is set up in the future in order to more easily get its message across, as is the case with all good sci-fiction). It is about our times and our society. The slogan “Time is Money” gets its ultimate realization: in the depicted society money and the time (left to live) are literally the same thing. The movie hints at possible consequences of such a situation. Fortunately, it hints without lecturing about them.
This is already happening now, only without the precision shown in the movie. Nowadays, almost everybody trades her or his life expectancy for temporary pleasures, like drinking, smoking, driving, for example. My employer decided to do this more directly. Instead of cutting the salaries (for the sake of the argument, let us assume that it got in a very bad financial situation; in fact it is prospering), it is cutting step by step the coverage of prescription medications, and *encourages* employees to switch to cheap and dangerous junk. Well, outdated medications mean a shorter life. We punish some people by incarceration (taking time from them), some others by huge fines. We are putting people into jails for cheating on the stock market (time for money), or order them to pay a compensation for a botched surgery (money for time).
There are other things already present, like the borders and the border guards between zones where poor in time live their short lives and zones where rich in time live being practically immortal. Doesn’t it resemble something? By the way, the suicide of such a rich person, which initiates the main story, may also initiate your own thinking about immortality. While in high school, I once conducted a non-scientific poll which showed that most of my classmates do not want to be immortal; one girl added “I may go for it if I will look young forever”. The authors of the movie seem to be aware of this; her condition is implemented.
So, the movie may stimulate you to think, but it will give you no answers since nobody knows them.
On the other hand, you may not pay attention to these aspects at all. “In time” is gorgeously filmed. If you are indifferent to visual aspects of a movie (compared to the story or the message), you don’t need to watch it. I don’t know why to watch movies in such a case at all (since then one would be better by reading books), but such people do watch a lot of movies too. In contrast with most of sci-fi movies, which are usually filmed mostly in the dark and enclosed sets, “In Time” is filmed mostly in the open and in the sunlight (it may be still a soundstage; I don’t care).
Justin Timberlake is great despite he wears a look which is already overused. Amanda Seyfried is absolutely gorgeous.
How can one miss the beauty of, say, the above shoots?
No review here shows any real appreciation of Amanda Seyfried’s performance. Performances by both Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are subtle and understated. The gradual changes in Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried’s character) are mostly only hinted at (in contrast with the common yelling about them).
The villain is an agent of an all-powerful partially secret service, which can take or give any amount of time=money from you. I hope that you can guess what agencies play this role now. Since the movie is not about him (it is about characters of Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried), no character development is to be expected. Cillian Murphy brilliantly plays a person madly determined to achieve his goal (wrong even by the standards of that futuristic society). Again, the movie avoids main platitudes associated with such characters, and one may say that even his part is somewhat understated.
OK, this is not a 10 stars movie, but it is a very good one. I gave it 8 stars. I missed it in the theaters, yesterday I watched a record of it from a satellite channel, and now I am planning to watch its Blu-ray version (usually, I watch movies only once).
Highly recommended, if you are ready to watch it without any prejudice and are not going to compare it to the "2001: A Space Odyssey" afterwards. It is different from the others sci-fi flicks, and this is good contrary to many opinions.