REVIEW: ‘In Time.’ Everyone Is 25 and Looks Like Justin Timberlake and Is Dying.
20th Century Fox
2. Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, a poverty-stricken factory worker who lives in the slums of this future land with his mother, played, amusingly, by Olivia Wilde. (The revelation that Wilde, whose character is in her fifties, is Timberlake's mother gets the movie's first sustained laugh, particularly because it's played so straight.) One night, he saves a "wealthy" loner (with centuries of time left) from a group of bandits, and when he wakes up the next morning, the loner has given him all his time, killed himself (because he'd decided that a century on earth was enough for him) and written "Spend My Time Wisely" on the wall. Thanks to a silly plot contrivance, Will takes his newfound wealth and uses it to leave the ghetto for "New Greenwich," the richest area of town (it cost him a year of his life just to transfer from the ghetto to the other side of the fence). Chaos then predictably ensues.
20th Century Fox
3. A lot of this is a bit dull. Salas meets a super-wealthy businessman (played, in an extremely clever touch, by Vincent Kartheiser of "Mad Men;" his petulant, entitled facial structure really does look like that of an old rich white man) who is (understandably) overprotective of his delicate daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried, who is a far more interesting actress than she is in this film. They end up on the run, fall in love and start holding up banks Bonnie and Clyde style to resolve the income gap while being chased by a dispassionate "timekeeper" cop played by Cillian Murphy. Their love story is not compelling and many of the action scenes are by-the-numbers and even nonsensical. There's also a subplot involving Salas' father that feels truncated, like it was originally a larger part of the story but excised at the last minute. And ... about Justin Timberlake. This is probably the most I've liked him in a performance, but you should know that isn't saying much. He's physically striking and has the faux intensity of a low-grade action star, but you can never shake the sense that he is play-acting in a way that the other actors are not. You can see the gears whirring, the "I am now acting! Look!" He's not bad exactly, but a movie this ambitious needs an actor who understands this is more than just a pose or a career movie. I remain unconvinced that Timberlake does.