MOVIES TAKE TIME to make, so it's rare they have much to do with current events. But every once in a while, a movie will get lucky and come out on a conveniently relevant date. When In Time was written, shot, and edited, Occupy Wall Street wasn't even a gleam in a trustafarian's eye; now that the film's out, it's hard to think of it as anything but an allegory of America's wealth disparity.
Swap dollars and cents for minutes and seconds: In In Time's near future, everyone stops aging at 25. The good news: Everyone is super pretty! The bad news: Time is currency. Once you hit 25, a digital watch on your forearm starts counting down. Once your time runs out, you die. A latte costs four minutes. A sports car costs 50 years. And unless you come from a family with eons of stored-up time, you're left scrambling for seconds to add to your ever-diminishing clock.
Enter Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, frequently shirtless), who not only works at a shitty factory every day in order to stay alive, but also has to deal with the Oedipal issues that come with having a mom who looks like Olivia Wilde. But when Salas unexpectedly finds himself with more than a century to spare, the authorities—like surly timecop Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) and rich old bastard Philippe Weis (that guy who plays Pete on Mad Men)—get suspicious. Soon Salas is on the run with Weis' daughter (Amanda Seyfried), stealing minutes and giving them to those without.
As he did in his great 1997 film Gattaca—hey, look, another high-concept dystopia full of beautiful people!—writer/director Andrew Niccol taps into a clever premise and runs with it. (Here, that's literal: Timberlake and Seyfried do a lot of sprinting.) Not everything about In Time works—there are some clunky moments and a few logic jumps—but in general, this thing's witty, fun, and snappy. Also, it's totally about how busted our economic systems are! And about how rich people can be dicks. And about how Justin Timberlake can save us! I'll trade in 90 minutes for that.