The movie “In Time” released in 2011, directed by Andrew Niccol stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and various other Hollywood stars. The movie is set in the year 2169. IMDb’s summary says the following: “In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth.”
Above you see Will Salas’ (Justin Timberlake) clock counting down in the movie’s first shot. Will Salas monologues: “I don’t have time… Time is now the currency; we earn it and spend it. The rich can live forever, and the rest of us…” Everyone in this society has a clock like this that begins counting down a year, starting the moment that that person has been alive for exactly 25 years. The moment the clock starts counting down, that person stop aging completely.
However, when the clock on one’s forearm reaches zero, this person “times out” and dies instantly like the woman in the above frame.
Above you see Will Salas’ mother’s (Olivia Wilde) clock on her forearm. Time can be transferred from person to person or stored in time capsules. In this future society, the population is divided into time zones that stratify the population into economic classes.
As we can see in the above image, the wealthiest zone, “New Greenwich” occupies the red territory. It is a place where the people enjoy an immortal lavish life in mansions and where someone will never die unless by accident.
And the poor in “Dayton” live day to day, running to work instead of walking to scrounge up enough minutes for a morning cup of coffee. The stratification of the time zones and the presence of the “Weis Timelenders” company in this future represent some form of order in this society.
Though it seems that the farther away from the first and wealthiest time zone you go, closer to the “ghetto” of Dayton, the more chaotic things seem to become.
Above, Justin Timberlake is standing before a time capsule that holds one million years in the vault at the time bank. In this movie the desire to be wealthy with time would provide immortality, which is one of the most desired powers that mankind could ever imagine having. This commodity is the driving force for this society’s organization since everyone wants to live as 25 forever.
The word time takes on a new and insightful meaning in this movie.
About halfway through the movie, after Will Salas happens to luckily receive a gift of a century from a stranger, he makes his way into the wealthiest time zone. The attractive waitress at the restaurant he is at, asks him whether or not he was “from around here” (i.e. the wealthiest time zone) since he “does everything a little too fast.”
“Not everything” he responds.
The owner of “Wies Timelenders” the wealthiest man in society, Philippe Weis, the man with a million years, when playing a game of poker with Will Salas says to him; “…of course, some think that what we have is unfair; the time difference between zones.”
“But isn’t this just the next logical step in our evolution?” He says as he brushes his time on his hand with his other hand. “Hasn’t evolution always been unfair? It’s always been survival of the fittest…Don’t we need capitalism, natural selection?”
“Absolutely, only the strong survive. And I think that your hand is weak.” JT responds as the capitalist hero envisions!
Without breaking any rules or doing anything illegal, Will Salas has made it to the top of the pyramid with 13 figures on his clock.
Then the archetype of the police figure, what the movie calls timekeepers is also present.
Timekeeper Raymond says, “You’re talking about justice.” He says sarcastically. “…I only concern myself with things that I can measure.” With seconds, minutes, and hours. Not with Justice.
Andrew Niccol’s inspiration for this movie came from his film Gattaca (1997), another film about a dystopian future in which genetic engineering creates new socio-racial discrimination.