In Time  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In Time (previously titled Now and I'm.mortal) is a 2011 American dystopian science fiction action film starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, and Vincent Kartheiser. The film, written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol, was released on October 28, 2011. Met with mixed critical reviews, it performed well at the box office.

Plot

By 2161, genetic alteration has allowed humanity to stop aging at 25 but people are required to earn more time after turning 25 or die when their accumulated time runs out. 'Living time', which can be transferred among individuals on body-contact, has replaced money and its availability is displayed on an implant on people's lower arm. When that clock reaches zero, one dies instantly. Society is divided by social class living in specialized towns called 'Time Zones'. The poor live in the ghettos of Dayton, where youth predominates, and must work each day to earn a few more hours of life, which they must also use to pay for everyday necessities. The rich live in the luxurious city-like town called New Greenwich, in which the middle-aged and elderly predominate, though they look young because they have stopped aging at 25 years old. They drive fast electric cars, and can live for centuries.

28-year-old factory worker Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives with his mother Rachel Salas (Olivia Wilde) in the ghettos. One day, Will saves rich 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from suffering a time-robbery assault in a bar where he flaunts his time around buying people drinks. Hamilton is attacked by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), the elderly British mobster boss of a middle-aged gang called the Minutemen. Will leads Hamilton to safety, where Hamilton says to Will, "For few to be immortal, many must die", as there is essentially enough time for everyone to live a full life, but it is stockpiled for the rich to become immortal. An upset Will argues that no one should die before their time naturally ends so that others may live, upon which Hamilton describes how he no longer even desires life, in saying "[y]our mind can be spent, even if your body is not. We want to die. We need to."

Later that night, Hamilton transfers 116 years to the sleeping Will, keeping only five minutes for himself, which he uses to go and sit on a ledge on a bridge. As his time expires, Hamilton falls into the river below. Will arrives too late to save him, realizes he has been filmed by a nearby surveillance camera, and flees the area. Resident police force, the Timekeepers, have various theories as to his death. A young timekeeper, Timekeeper Jaeger (Collins Pennie), correctly assumes Hamilton had "timed out", a.k.a. killed himself, but a middle-aged veteran Timekeeper, Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), is convinced he was murdered by a Dayton resident.

Will visits his friend, Borel (Johnny Galecki), and gives him 10 years of time, one year for each year of their friendship. Will waits for his mother at a bus station, only to discover that she didn't have enough time to pay for her usual bus ride after the price suddenly increased. He rushes down the street to find her. They encounter each other on foot, and as she runs and leaps into his arms, her time expires before her son can help her and she dies in his arms. Remembering what Hamilton told him about the inequity of the time system, Will decides to seek revenge. He leaves for New Greenwich, with over a century on his clock. Upon arrival, he enters a casino, where he meets an old millionaire, time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and his daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Sylvia becomes interested in Will after a tense gambling table showdown where Will beats her father in poker with only one second to spare on his clock, winning 1,100 years in the process. She invites Will to a party at her father's mansion.

At the mansion, Will is apprehended by Leon, who confiscates all of his time, spare two hours. Will then escapes taking Sylvia hostage. Returning to the ghetto with her, he drives into an ambush of Fortis, who, in disappointment to find that the unconscious Will was in possession of Hamilton's time but lost it, steals most of Sylvia's, only failing to take the last half hour as the approach of the Timekeepers forces him to leave the scene. Will returns to consciousness and gives Sylvia some of his remaining time so they can return to his old neighborhood. They first visit Borel to retrieve some time Will gave him earlier, only to find out from Borel's grief-stricken wife, Greta (Yaya DaCosta), that he drank himself to death with 9 years on his clock. Sylvia pawns her jewelry for the meager price of 2 days. Finding themselves a shelter, Will calls Weis demanding a 1,000 years' ransom for Sylvia, to be distributed to the people of the ghetto. Leon traces Will's location from his phone call, and heads to Dayton in pursuit.

The following day, as Will prepares to release Sylvia, he discovers that Weis did not pay the ransom, but Will decides to let Sylvia go regardless. Leon appears to arrest Will, but is shot in the shoulder by Sylvia. Will then transfers two hours of time to the disarmed Leon so that he is able to walk out of Dayton before he "times out". Will and Sylvia escape in Leon's car. Later, Will tells her that she still has a chance to walk away from the situation, but she decides to remain by his side, saying there is no purpose to the life she once had in New Greenwich. They begin a series of Time Bank robberies, stealing the Time Capsules which store time equivalents and distributing them to the poor, getting a bounty of 10 years on their heads. Fortis eventually tracks down Will and Sylvia a second time, and challenges Will to a Time Fight. Will dominates the fight by using the technique he learned from his late father, then shoots the remaining Minutemen while Fortis dies in the time fight, his time transferred to Will.

Will and Sylvia realize their previous efforts were futile, as the rich have the power to simply increase the cost of living in the ghettos to maintain the status quo. They succeed in stealing a million years from Weis' private headquarters in a Time Capsule, escaping all resistance on their way out and reaching Dayton. Upon arrival, Leon crashes his car into Will's, but Will is able to hand the Time Capsule to a young girl who then distributes the time among the people. Leon eventually catches up with Will and Sylvia outside the city, holding them at gunpoint. Will jokingly asks Leon to return some of the time he previously loaned him so that they can survive until their executions, but Leon realizes that he had neglected to replenish his own time before going after them, and dies. Will and Sylvia are left with seconds to live. Will runs to Leon's car and takes his allotted time. In a scene mirroring his mother's death, Will transfers the time to Sylvia seconds before she is about to die.

Will and Sylvia continue robbing banks as part of their efforts to crash the system, now with a bounty of 100 years on their heads, while the rich attempt to cope with the sudden surge of people who now have enough time to change zones arriving from the ghettos. A news broadcast shows the factories, in which Will once worked, are no longer in action. Factory workers, now rich with Time, cross Time Zones while the Time Keepers become observers instead of enforcers.

The last scene reveals that Will and Sylvia are going to rob an obscenely huge Time Bank in order to keep disrupting the system.

Cast

Plagiarism suit

On September 15, 2011, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a suit was filed by attorneys on behalf of speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison that the plot of the movie was based on his award-winning 1965 short-story, ""Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman". The suit, naming New Regency and director Andrew Niccol as well as a number of anonymous John Does, appears to base its claim on the similarity that both the completed film along with Ellison's story concern a dystopian future in which people have a set amount of time to live which can be revoked, given certain pertaining circumstances by a recognized authority known as a Timekeeper. Initially, the suit demanded an injunction against the film's release; however, Ellison later altered his suit to instead ask for screen credit before ultimately dropping the suit, with both sides releasing the following joint statement: "After seeing the film In Time, Harlan Ellison decided to voluntarily dismiss the Action. No payment or screen credit was promised or given to Harlan Ellison. The parties wish each other well, and have no further comment on the matter."






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