Inception set a new benchmark for sci-fi movies. This was genuinely a new idea expertly executed by a great director - Christopher Nolan.
So when I saw the trailer for In Time I was hoping that this would be the next in a new era of interesting films based on an original concept.
It certainly has the potential from the synopsis. In Time is set in the future where people stop ageing at the age of 25 and are engineered to live only 1 more year. To continue living people have to purchase top-ups of time, just like topping up a mobile phone balance. There is no money as such - time is the currency. People work and receive their income in units of time, and everything is paid for with those units of time.
This world of the future is much like today; the rich can top-up with decades at a time, essentially becoming immortal, while the poor have to beg, borrow or steal enough hours just to make it through the day.
Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a man in the latter category who, through being in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets falsely accused of murder and is forced to go on the run with a hostage - Sylvia Weis, played by Amanda Seyfried.
There's not much more you need to know. Unlike Inception, this isn't going to make you want to go back and watch it again to make sure you followed it all.
In Time tries to tread a line between being a popcorn Sci-fi on one hand, and a social commentary on the inherent unfairness in capitalism on the other. It's somewhere between Robin Hood and Bonnie and Clyde.
The message is a little muddled though. A number of times in the film Will Salas is questioned about the morality of stealing and his reply is 'Is it wrong to steal if it has already been stolen?', but there's no clarification on what he means. The wealth on show in the area known as New Greenwich seems to be mostly inherited wealth, so in what way has it been stolen?
As is the custom for these movies, Will Salas does some serious ass kicking. At the beginning of the movie he's an ordinary factory worker, yet halfway through the movie he turns into James Bond, taking baddies out with comical ease. Unless I missed it there's no explanation of where he got his fighting and shooting skills.
Also, some of the special effects were decidedly dodgy. In particular there's one where the car the 'goodies' are driving flips over. It reminded me of that scene in Die Another Day where the Drag Racing car falls over the side of the ice cliff. I was looking for the strings - very Thunderbirds-esque.
If I were rating this film on quality I'd probably give it 2 stars but my ratings are simply based on how much I enjoyed the film. Despite all the flaws it is fairly entertaining, hence 3 stars. Just take my advice - turn off your brain at the start of the film!