Opening 1 Dec 2011
In a future world (that looks much like a north-eastern state in the U.S.), time is the most valuable commodity. Everyone lives until age 25. After that each person, in order to survive, must beg a hand-out of a few more minutes or work for an additional day. Lucky heirs “collect decades from the family trust fund.” The desperate sell their remaining minutes. “For one to reach immortality, many must die.” On each person’s arm, in a green light, is a number which registers that person’s momentary lifetime expectation.
One “time millionaire” is Harry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who, tired of still living at age 105, picks a fight in a bar, only to be rescued by Will Salas (Justin Timberlake). Will takes him to a safe place, but, while Will is sleeping, Harry transfers all his remaining hundreds of years to him, and then commits suicide. Nobody believes that Will got such a valuable gift legally, especially not the Timekeeper, Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), who is a kind of modern chief of police; he searches for the suspected thief. Will, in the meantime now time-rich beyond any imagination, has confiscated a car and driven out of his white-trash neighborhood to the luxurious area of New Greenwich, where he wins a poker game against banker Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). (Guess what he keeps in his safe.) The next night Will meets Weis’ daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Will and Sylvia join forces, travel through poor areas and generously donate free time to the various social services for the poor like some kind of Bonnie and Clyde, always with the police in hot pursuit.
Here “don’t waste my time” takes on new meaning. The fast action keeps your eyes off your own watch during the showing, as it is definitely worth your time. Although new science fiction films arrive all the time, in this one we can identify with the characters, as they reflect the values we know today: haves versus have-nots, splendour versus squalor, moral decision-making for the good of the majority, guilty vs. innocent, etc. The actors are excellent, especially Kartheiser, Timberlake and Murphy. I kept visualizing them exchanging roles – all three could have easily played each others’ parts. Cillian Murphy actually steals the show from Timberlake. Naturally, it’s easy on the eyes to watch a film where nobody looks older than 25, no matter how many years he has engraved on his arm. Imagine if you and your grandmother looked just like your 25-year-old daughter. Amanda Seyfried gets a prize for tirelessly, expertly running on high heels. Director is Andrew Niccol. (Becky Tan)