Written, produced and directed by Andrew Niccol, In Time is an intellectually stimulating sci-fi romance that examines a metaphor for class warfare.
Time is the currency of this future world – and not just any time, but a person's own life span. Once a person reaches 25, their clock begins ticking, and they only have one year left. If the clock – indicated by a neon-green biologic counter on their left arm – reaches zero, that person will die instantly.
A person can add to their remaining time through loans, gambling, working or by taking someone else's time; additionally, a person can choose to give away time or otherwise have it taken from them. The lower class is constantly under pressure to manage its time, whereas the upper class has hundreds, and even thousands, of years to spend.
In Time focuses on the struggles of Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), an intelligent yet poor man whose parents die after giving away too much of their time. One fateful night, Will receives a century of extra years from a suicidal philanthropist who exhorts Will to use the gift to help change the world for the better.
Later, Will meets Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), a reckless heir to the richest man in the area. Together, they're thrust into a conflict that leads them down the path to changing the status quo.
A number of different villains permeate the movie with their hungry desire for immortality. "Minutemen" constitute a sort of mafia, openly attacking members of the lower class and stealing whatever amount of time they can. The "Timekeepers" make sure that the flow of time – from the lower to the upper class – remains stable by arresting anyone trying to disrupt it. Sylvia's father Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) has full control over the North American time zones, making him nearly immortal.
Despite the clear advancement in genetic research, Niccol's future world is extremely similar to our current one. Members of both the lower and upper classes wear the same clothes we have today, the architecture remains unchanged, and travel is still accomplished by (electric) cars and buses, assuming one can afford them. The similarities make the movie more relatable to today's society.
The film's story is original, a rare feat in today's age, and the plot isn't confusing or overly-complicated. Each actor gives the impression that living by the clock on their arm is what keeps them ticking