In Time (2011)

In Time (2011)

In Time (previously titled Now and I’m.mortal) is a 2011 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and produced by Andrew Niccol and starring Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake. The film was released on October 28, 2011.


In Time - PosterIn 2169, people are born genetically engineered with a digital clock, bearing 1 year of time, on their forearm. When they turn 25, they stop aging, but their clock begins counting down; when it reaches zero, that person “times out” and dies instantly. Time on these clocks is the universal currency; by touching arms, one person can transfer it to another, or to/from a separate clock (a “time capsule”). The country is divided into “time zones” based on the wealth of its population. There are at least 19 time zones, the movie focuses on 2: Dayton, which is poor, and New Greenwich, the wealthiest zone. In Dayton, residents are constantly living minute to minute, doing whatever is necessary to live another day, and in New Greenwich the inhabitants barely, if ever, have to worry about their clocks running out. Many are constantly surrounded by bodyguards to protect them from anyone thinking of stealing any time.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a 28-year-old Dayton factory worker, lives with his mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde). While in a bar, he saves drunken and suicidal 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), a time-rich from New Greenwich, from an attempted robbery by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), the boss of a gang called “Minute Men”. Hamilton reveals to Will the truth about wealth: there is enough time for everyone to live a long life, but New Greenwich citizens take and store most of the time for themselves in order to live forever. In order to maintain the status quo, they continually increase the cost of living in poorer districts. Hamilton gives 116 years of his time to a sleeping Will with a message saying “don’t waste my time.” With 5 minutes remaining, Hamilton walks out onto a bridge where he dies and his body falls into the water. The police also known as Timekeepers, led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), sees Hamilton’s clock and assumes that his time was stolen. They look at video footage and identify Will as a thief.

Will visits his best friend Borel (Johnny Galecki), an alcoholic, to whom he gives 10 years, but says goodbye, as he plans to live in New Greenwich with his mother. Meanwhile, Rachel must give all but 90 minutes of her time to pay her debts. When she boards the bus to get back home, she learns the fare has been raised to two hours. Since it’s a 2-hour walk home, she is forced to run. When Will sees that Rachel is not on the scheduled bus, he deduces what has happened and begins to run to her. He attempts to save her, but a second before they can touch, she times out and dies in his arms.

Will leaves for New Greenwich and meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), who possesses 1,000,000 years, and his 27-year-old daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). While playing poker, Will bets all but 30 seconds of his time, but wins back the pot of 1,100 years. Sylvia invites him to a party in the Weis mansion. Soon after Will arrives, he is apprehended by Leon, who confiscates all but two hours of Will’s time. Will escapes and takes Sylvia hostage. He returns to Dayton with her but runs into Fortis where they are both knocked unconscious. Fortis tries to take all of Sylvia’s years, but leaves about half an hour. Will and Sylvia wake up and visit Borel to get back some time, but learns from Borel’s wife that he died of an alcohol overdose. Sylvia pawns her diamond earrings to buy more time. Will calls Weis and demands a 1,000-year ransom for Sylvia. Sylvia’s mother is willing to pay, but Weis isn’t, stating that he didn’t get to where he was by giving time away, and because if would mess up the system the wealthy had created if he gave time away and it went to people in the ghetto. A timekeeper traces the call, and Leon heads there, saying he knows the area.

When Leon comes to arrest Will, Sylvia shoots him and they escape in Leon’s car. Will tells Sylvia to run away, but she refuses and helps him rob time banks, steal time capsules and redistribute them to the poor. The pair realize they would need a million years to cause any significant damage to the system, so they break into Weis’s private vault and steal his million years. When Leon finds them, Will manages to pass the capsule to a young girl who distributes time to the people. Leon eventually catches up with Will and Sylvia outside the city, holding them at gunpoint but Leon has neglected to replenish his own time before going after them, and he dies. Will and Sylvia are left with mere seconds to live. Will runs to Leon’s car and takes Leon’s per diem time. Will then runs back to catch Sylvia, in a similar scene to that of his mother, but is able to catch her and gives her time.

Will and Sylvia continue robbing banks as part of their efforts to crash the system, while the rich attempt to cope with the sudden surge of people infiltrating their zone. Lower class workers, now rich with time, cross time zones, signifying the end of inequality. The last scene shows Will and Sylvia preparing to rob a huge time bank to further disrupt the system.

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Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:


In Time (2011) - Black Sun - Subliminals

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Andrew Niccol

First Published: May 5, 2012  –  Last Updated: Apr 8, 2014