Nov 11
IN TIME… A HALF-BAKE PRESENTATION OF HOW TO LIVE A LIFE by Isabel Sebullen  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Nov 11, 2011

“Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others,” a quotation written by Winston Churchill is exactly what the movie In Time is telling us. The film In Time is about time, power, and struggles of humanity. Every human being born has his own time, not determined by him or anyone, but by the Supreme Being – God. In time, it was not clear, who decides the 25 years life span. The writer presented in the movie the future situation of this world, wherein you have only a life span of 25 years. How sad it is to end life when you are at the prime of your life. What if this situation is bound to happen in the future?

The writer-director presents a situation similar to the present time wherein wealth is being controlled by the 10 percent of the elite in the whole world, 50 percent is controlled by the lower and upper middle class, while 40 percent live with $2 per day. It is not anymore new to portray that life is being enjoyed by this elite. They can manipulate and use their wealth to their own advantage.

The plot of In Time is synonymous to “time is money” which is also used as currency in the movie, whose value changes only when you go to another area with a different time line. Time can be pawned or sold for something else.

The writer-director Andrew Niccol conceived the concept of this futuristic science-fiction film, wherein aging stops at 25, but one can extend it depending on how much time one can borrow, buy, beg or steal. It is a world where no one can see aging people, like for instance, Sylvia Weiss’ mother and grand-mother, all look 25 years old. No one can anymore distinguish the difference in age between women, so there is no need for surgery to remain young.

Synopsis of In Time

In the movie, the aging gene has been switched off, to avoid overpopulation. Time has become the currency and the means in which people pay for luxuries and necessities. The rich can live forever, while the rest try to negotiate for their immortality. In the story, scientists are able to stop aging but not greed and avarice. A poor young man, who comes into a fortune of time, though too late to help his mother from dying, wants equality between rich and poor. A kind of thinking that so many are harboring at present. He ends up on the run from
a corrupt police force Raymond Leon, (played by Murphy) known as ‘time keepers’.

There are well-off people who have more, with their time deposited in a bank. Philippe Weiss and daughter Sylvia (Seyfried) represent the well-off and some regular bad guys. Will Salas plays the hero, who with the help of Sylvia, was able to rob a bank and distributes time to people down the street. When Will Salas comes across Matt Bomer as Henry Hamilton, his life turns upside down. Bomer is a man with centuries on his green glowing arm clock. He is on a suicide mission.

After a century of living and another century on the clock, Hamilton has had enough. Sylvia has all the time she needs but finds her life meaningless until she meets Will whose passion for life counts a lot.

However, the time system that keeps the world going is one that does not favor anomalies. When Will suddenly changes fortunes, it attracts the attention of the “Time Keepers” (cops) – half-century veteran Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), who recognizes in Will the same socialistic streak he saw in Will’s father many years ago. When the Keepers come to forcibly get Will’s time, he is forced to flee with Sylvia.

A lot of actions follow, until Will is able to distribute the stolen time to poor people.

Niccol’s concept of a futuristic science fiction is original. However, he was not able to neither sustain his revolutionary concept of equality in the film nor explore the potential of the theme of time currency. He does not acknowledge the presence of God in the life of people, but there is a presentation of what is good and evil. The shallow conflict among characters is being glued to the context of time. Like most directors and producers abroad or locally, the temptation of commercialism hinders the director to present the revolutionary concept about distribution of wealth as well the metaphorical presentation of how to live a meaningful life or merely to exist.

Another loophole I saw is the place, it doesn’t look futuristic, also the vintage cars used in the film.

So many questions cloud my mind: How distant is the distant future of the film? Is there any desirable event that awaits people if they live longer than 25? Why does Will rob for others to live if life is not that meaningful?

In In Time, the writer did not emphasize much the essence of life. For everybody has reason to live…either to indulge in luxury and everything that money can buy, to be in power forever, or to live helping others, to live in order to prepare for the next life, to live for the loved ones, and so many reasons why a person aspires to live.

In Time is a gem of a story lost in commercialism. And how I wish this gem of story tells more about the essence of life, for it to be desired.


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