Sci-fi flick makes timely points on current issues

  • By Roger Moore The Orlando Sentinel
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:50pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

“Gattaca” director Andrew Niccol’s sense of the zeitgeist is as on the money as ever with “In Time,” a sci-fi parable that plays like “Occupy Wall Street: The Movie.”

Though its story arc is nothing if not conventional, this startling commentary on a world of haves and those-we’ll-keep-from-having touches on the greatest sci-fi trope of all: dystopia, how the future looks because of the things we do wrong today.

Justin Timberlake is Will Salas, a young guy who will be “25” to the end of his days. Or hours. In this future, people stop aging at 25. Then, unless they can buy, borrow or steal time from another, they die.

“I don’t have time” has a whole new meaning to the working poor. They sprint, breathlessly, from home to work to date night and constantly stare at the luminescent digits counting down on their arm. Time, for all of them, is running out.

The gangs that rule the place are “Minutemen,” thieves who steal from others, kill at will and drive cool retro cars. Portis, given a nicely petulant taste by Alex Pettyfer, is leader of the pack.

The rich, barricaded in their own fortress “time zones,” stockpile the years, live spectacularly well and spectacularly long. But they live without risk, in fear of the one thing that can get them: accidental death.

An act of kindness earns Will time, enough of it to change time zones. He goes undercover and resolves to live it up and take the rich “for everything they’ve got.” That’s where he gambles with the rich guy (Vincent Kartheiser from “Mad Men”). That’s where he meets the rich man’s stunning, rebellious daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). And that’s where he runs afoul of the timekeepers, led by the obsessed Javertlike maintainer of the status quo, Ray Leon (Cillian Murphy, terrific).

Timberlake is more adequate than epic in this leading man turn, and Seyfried, in a red flapper’s bob, impossibly high heels and provocatively short skirts, still seems an innocent young thing playing at being bad.

“In Time” has its silly side, its eye-rolling moments mixed in with the pungent observations about modern society. When Will and Sylvia go on the lam, the film gets a needed jolt of adrenalin. It’s a pity Niccol’s script doesn’t give them anywhere to go.

“In Time” (2½ stars)

Justin Timberlake holds his own in this sci-fi parable of haves and have-nots. Time itself is the measure of wealth. Some strong observations about society are countered by ho-hum settings that look like everyday TV shows. With Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy.

Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexuality and strong language.

Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre, Everett Mall, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Metro, Pacific Place, Thorton Place, Woodinville, Blue Fox, Cascade Mall.

Talk to us

More in Life

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Most Read