In Time

In Time is a 2011 American science fiction action film written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol. Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake star as inhabitants in a society where people stop aging at 25. Instead of using paper money, a new economic system uses time as currency, and each person has a clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live. Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Johnny Galecki, Collins Pennie and Alex Pettyfer also star. The film was released on October 28, 2011.


In 2169, people are genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthday, when a one-year countdown on their forearm begins. When it reaches zero, the person "times out" and dies instantly. Time has thus become the universal currency, transferred directly between people or stored in "time capsules". Several major areas called Time Zones exist within Ohio. Dayton is the poorest, a manufacturing "ghetto" where people rarely have more than 24 hours on their clocks; in New Greenwich, people have enough time to be essentially immortal.
Will Salas is a Dayton factory worker, who sees a group of time-robbing thugs led by Fortis going after a drunken man named Henry Hamilton and saves him. Hamilton has 116 years on his clock, but is tired of living. He reveals that the people of New Greenwich hoard most of the time to live forever, while arranging for constantly increasing prices so that poorer people keep dying. The next morning, he transfers his time to a sleeping Will, then times out. Raymond Leon, who leads a unit of police-like Timekeepers, considers Will a suspect in Hamilton's death.
Will visits his friend Borel, who warns him that having so much time will get him killed. Will gives Borel 10 years and goes to meet his mother to leave for New Greenwich together. But the city bus fare has risen from 1 to 2 hours, and she only has 90 minutes. She tries to run to meet Will, but times out at the last moment and dies in his arms.
In New Greenwich, Will visits a casino and meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis and his daughter Sylvia. While playing poker, Will comes dangerously close to timing out but eventually wins more than a millennium in a flawless gamble. Sylvia invites him to a party, and Will buys a new sports car and drives there. Raymond arrives and arrests Will. Rather than attempting to prove Will's guilt, he simply confiscates almost all of Will's time, saying that it does not belong in Dayton.
Will escapes, taking Sylvia to Dayton as a hostage. Ambushed by Fortis' gang, they are left with 30 minutes each. Will attempts to get some time back from Borel, but he has drunk himself to death. They manage to get a day each by selling Sylvia's earrings. Will calls Weis to demand a 1,000-year ransom to be paid into the time-mission for the desperate. When Weis refuses, Will releases Sylvia anyway. Raymond finds Will, but Sylvia shoots him in the arm. Will gives Raymond enough time to survive, and steals his car.
Sylvia now shares Will's commitment to ending the system. They rob her father's time banks, giving the extra time capsules to the needy, but soon realize that they cannot significantly change anything, as prices are simply raised faster. They get attacked by Fortis' gang again, but Will manages to time out Fortis in an arm wrestling match and then shoot all his thugs. They decide to rob Weis' vault of a 1,000,000-year capsule. Raymond chases them back to Dayton but is too late to stop them from distributing the stolen time. The chase continues but, caught up in the moment, Raymond forgets to download his day's salary, and times out. Will and Sylvia nearly time out themselves, but survive by taking Raymond's salary for themselves.
TV reports show factories in Dayton shutting down as everyone has enough time and abandons their jobs. Having seen the consequences of Raymond's obsession with Will and Sylvia, Jaeger orders the Timekeepers to go back home. Will and Sylvia move on to robbing larger banks, still trying to crash the system.


Before the film was titled In Time, the names Now and I'm.mortal were used. On July 12, 2010, it was reported that Amanda Seyfried had been offered a lead role. On July 27, 2010, it was confirmed that Justin Timberlake had been offered a lead role. On August 9, 2010, Cillian Murphy was confirmed to have joined the cast.
The first photos from the set were revealed on October 28, 2010. 20th Century Fox and New Regency distributed the film, and Marc Abraham and Eric Newman's Strike Entertainment produced it.
In an interview with Kristopher Tapley of In Contention, Roger Deakins stated that he would be shooting the film in digital, which makes this the first film to be shot in digital by the veteran cinematographer.
The Dayton scenes were filmed primarily in the Skid Row and Boyle Heights neighborhoods of Los Angeles, while the New Greenwich scenes were filmed primarily in Century City, Bel Air, and Malibu. Although the names of the ghetto-like zone and wealthy enclave reflect Dayton and Greenwich, respectively, the maps used by the Timekeepers are maps of Los Angeles.
Using the common device of Future-Retro, the production's vehicle suppliers assembled a fleet of cars and trucks from used car lots and junkyards. Although an old Citroën DS 21 and Cadillac Seville feature, center stage goes to a fleet of seemingly immaculate Dodge Challengers and Lincoln Continentals. The rich drive around in the high gloss Lincolns, all of which have been smoothed, lowered and fitted with oversized disc wheels on low profile rubber. The Dodges are the Time Keeper's cop cars. These too have been smoothed and externally customized, with grilles front and rear covering the lights, and low profile tires on disc wheels. In stark contrast to the Lincolns, paintwork is matte black. A slim police light-bar is fitted internally, behind the windshield.
The use of future retro is one of many elements that the film seems to share with Niccol's earlier work, Gattaca. That film also features electrically powered vintage cars, as well as buildings of indeterminate age. Gattaca also deals with innate inequalities and also features a character seeking to cross the divide that his birthright is supposed to deny him. Similarly, he is pursued by law enforcement officers after being wrongly identified as having committed a murder.

Copyright lawsuit

On September 15, 2011, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a suit was filed by attorneys on behalf of speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison that the film's plot was based on his 1965 short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman".
The suit, naming New Regency, director Andrew Niccol and a number of anonymous John Does, appears to base its claim on the similarity that both the completed film and Ellison's story concern a dystopian future in which people have a set amount of time to live which can be revoked, given certain pertaining circumstances by a recognized authority known as a Timekeeper. Initially, the suit demanded an injunction against the film's release; however, Ellison later altered his suit to instead ask for screen credit before ultimately dropping the suit, with both sides releasing the following joint statement: "After seeing the film In Time, Harlan Ellison decided to voluntarily dismiss the Action. No payment or screen credit was promised or given to Harlan Ellison. The parties wish each other well, and have no further comment on the matter."

Similar works

In Harlan Ellison's 1965 short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", the crime of being late is punished by a proportionate amount of time being "revoked" from one's life. The ultimate consequence is to run out of time and be "turned off". This is done by the Master Timekeeper, or "Ticktockman".
Many of the elements of In Time can be found in the 1987 short film The Price of Life, made by Chanticleer Films. Its basic premise and storyline are so similar that In Time has been called an unacknowledged remake of the earlier film. The Price of Life was a 38-minute short film in which a time account is physically linked to every infant at birth, with death automatic when the balance drops to zero. An elite upper-class is portrayed as living hundreds of years or more. The protagonist is given a certain amount of time as an infant, and as a young boy adds days and years to his time account by buying valuables from people and selling them to visiting tourists from the rich enclave. After his sister dies after gambling away her time, the protagonist sets out on a journey to the enclave of "the Old Ones" in order to save the life of his mother, who is running out of time. He gets there and meets a beautiful older woman who co-opts him into the immortal lifestyle.
The novel and movie Logan's Run depict a world where everyone is destroyed when they reach the age of 30 in the film or 21 in the book. The antagonists are Sandmen who hunt Runners trying to avoid destruction.
David Firth's 2008 A Short Cartoon About Time also has the same concept of selling time for monetary gain.


Critical response

In Time received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 37% of 171 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 5.27/10. The website's consensus reads, "In Times intriguing premise and appealing cast are easily overpowered by the blunt, heavy-handed storytelling." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 53 based on 36 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-minus" on an A+ to F scale. Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review with 3 stars out of 4, noting that the "premise is damnably intriguing", but "a great deal of this film has been assembled from standard elements". Henry Barnes noted that Will is "one of the 99%" and calls the character "a Rolex Robin Hood".

Box office

In Time grossed $12 million on its opening weekend, debuting at number three behind Puss in Boots, and Paranormal Activity 3. The film declined later on during its 14 weekend box office run. The film eventually grossed over $37.5 million in the US and $136.4 million internationally for a worldwide total of $173.9 million.