Posing an opportune theme on looking and staying young, the futuristic action thriller “In Time” is set in a not-too-distant future when scientists have created a world where people stop aging at 25. The bad news though is that rather than being immortal everyone is genetically engineered with a body clock that gives them just one more year to live. Unless, that is, they can earn, buy, cheat or steal their way to some extra time.
“In Time” is a film by Andrew Niccol which stars music artist turned actor Justin Timberlake opposite the multi-faceted actress Amanda Seyfried. In the movie, Timberlake is Will Salas who is falsely accused of murder. Will figures out a way with the help of a wealthy hostage Sylvia Weis (Seyfried) to bring down the system where time is money and where only the rich can live forever.
“In Time” is written and directed by New Zealand-born Andrew Niccol, whose previous credits include the screenplay and direction for “The Truman Show” and “Gattaca.”
“Gattaca” was ahead of the cinematic curve in its creative use of CGI effects and in envisaging a future world where genetics have become a tool of social engineering. “The Truman Show,” meanwhile, was uncannily prescient about the voyeuristic reality programming that has changed the face of television over the last decade. Not surprisingly then, there’s seemingly a lot more to “In Time” than guns and car chases, even if Niccol insists that the film is first and foremost an action thriller with “a ticking clock in every scene.” “But, yes, it was definitely the theme of immortality, the desire to live forever, that sparked my interest,” the director concedes, adding with a smile that it’s no coincidence that “In Time” was shot in Los Angeles. “Los Angeles is the capital of staying young forever,” he explains.
“At the center of the story,” Niccol adds, “is this idea that in the future everyone is engineered to have a body clock that counts down the time they have left. And this invention is the death of all other inventions. So I think the film does comment a little bit on our seeming desire to stay young forever and what it would mean if we could do that, but our psychology may not be able to keep up with our biology.”
Amanda Seyfried, who recently starred in “Red Riding Hood” and “Mamma Mia” meanwhile, who clocks in at a spot-on 25 (inside and out), says that “In Time” is a completely original idea. The actress explains, “And such an amazing and intense concept – this thought that we may one day be able to switch off the gene for aging – but Andrew makes it seem entirely plausible and the characters feel completely real. I think there are very few writers who can do that: write a script with this extraordinary premise and create an imagined world that you absolutely believe in.”
Justin Timberlake says it was a similar response to Niccol’s script that made him eager to jump on board. “When I first read the script I just got totally caught up in the characters and the story. Will is basically an anti-hero, an ordinary guy who’s forced to become a hero and take on these incredible challenges, and that aspect of it really appealed to me: I wanted him to come from a real place and be street smart but not to have extraordinary abilities. The film might be thought-provoking and give you something to talk about after you leave the cinema, but while you are watching it, the movie stays a couple of steps ahead of you the whole time and doesn’t really give you a chance to catch your breath,” Timberlake says.
“In Time” opens very soon in October from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.