Trailer Tuesday: In Time
A year ago, if you'd told me that Justin Timberlake was the lead in a Logan's Run-esque sci-fi actioner, I would have immediately dismissed the film. Then the former member of boy band 'N Sync proceeded to blow me away with his electric supporting performance in The Social Network.
This said, I'm still not entirely sure about Timberlake as a serious, full-fledged leading man, but I'm willing to put my doubts aside for In Time, which was previously known during production as Now and I'm.mortal.
In Time is set in a future where Mankind has gained complete control of the ageing process. As a result, nobody ages past 25. However, in a bid to control over-population, time has become a tradeable currency. For example, a cup of coffee in an affluent suburb can cost you a couple of days. Of course, corruption has seeped into this new "time-money" system. The rich can potentially live forever while the poor exist literally day to day, scrambling desperately for minutes and hours - which reflect on a digital counter on their forearm. When the counter reaches zero, a person's body self-destructs.
In In Time, Timberlake plays Will Salas, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks. Will is accused of murder, after a suicidal millionaire gifts him with centuries of life, and is promptly pursued by Cillian Murphy and his squad of "time keepers." In the process, Will takes Amanda Seyfried - the daughter of powerful Vincent (Mad Men) Kartheiser - as a hostage, and sets out to bring down the system.
Along with the trailer above, you can watch the international trailer here, which provides a better sense of the character relationships but is quite heavy on spoilers.
Now admittedly In Time could be far stronger in concept than execution but damn, what a concept... and what a cast. The film has really packed in the Hollywood talent under 35. For the record, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer and Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki also appear in the film.
Personally I love this type of science fiction film - where speculation about the future is tinged with fantasy, but still feels inherently credible in terms of how some people are advantaged by, and others disadvantaged, by new social systems shaped by technological advance.
Although In Time looks a bit more commercial than his previous work, writer-director Andrew Niccol has already helmed a couple of sci-fi films of this exact type. Remember Gattaca, with its focus on genetic engineering-based discrimination? Or Simone (AKA S1m0ne), about a synthetic, computer-generated movie star? Plus Niccol was also responsible for one of Nicolas Cage's few really good recent films, Lord of War and he scripted the brilliant Reality TV forerunner The Truman Show.
In short, Niccol is one of those rare filmmakers whose work consistently grapples intelligently, and memorably, with where we stand, and where we are going, as a species. I'm hoping that his latest film continues the trend... even if it's fronted by a pop star.
In Time opens on 28 October in North America. The film's South African release date is 4 November.