Director Andrew Niccol rocked our worlds with The Truman Show and Gattaca, and now he's back with the dystopian thriller In Time, due out in late October. We just saw footage from the film, which is a thinking person's mega-thriller.
Niccol brought the first footage we've seen from In Time, and it looked like a high-octane thrill-ride where a nearly bald Justin Timberlake hangs on by his fingertips in the middle of a dangerous future where your life expectancy is written on your wrist.
As Niccol explained, in the world of In Time, you stop aging at 25 years old — but the bad news is that you're genetically engineered to die after one more year. So you have to earn time or steal time, to find another way to keep living. Everyone is engineered to have a body clock on his or her wrist, "and the idea is this invention is the end of all other invention." Because the poor are always in danger of dying within a day if their time runs out, they can never innovate. And the rich can live for hundreds of years, and they have no need to keep innovating.
So we saw a huge sizzle reel, which basically narrated the entire plot of the movie. It's the late 21st century and "time has replaced money as the unit of currency," as the caption explains. "At 25 years old, aging stops, and you have one more year to live, unless you replenish your clock."
We see the shaven-headed Timberlake, waking up with less than a day to live, and then he finds out that a cup of coffee now costs four minutes of life instead of three minutes. He goes to work at the factory, but at the end of the day they reveal that he hasn't met his quota — he produced as much as before, but the quota has gone up. So he's left without enough time to live. And Timberlake wishes he could make up "more than time on my hand." We keep seeing his wrist with the digital read-out of his short time that's remaining. We also see a dead man in the street, with nothing but zeroes on his wrist.
Then there's a rich guy in a bar, who has 100 years to live on his wrist. Some gangsters want to steal the guy's years, but Timberlake rescues him and takes him to a safe place. Timberklake upbraids the guy for flashing that many years in such a seedy dive, but the guy says he's 105 years old and after a while just keeping on living seems pointless. While Timberlake sleeps, the guy transfers his 100 years to Timberlake, then leaves a note: "Don't waste my time."
Unfortunately, nobody will believe the rich guy gave his 100 years to Timberlake willingly, so the cops (led by Cilian Murphy) are after Timberlake. He goes on the run and winds up in the gated community for the super-rich, New Greenwich Village, where he meets a millionaire played by Vincent Kartheiser. He also meets Kartheiser's young and beautiful mother, wife and daughter — the latter of whom is Amanda Seyfried. When the cops catch up with Timberlake, he puts a gun to Seyfried's head and escapes.
They go on the run, and at first Seyfried is just Timberlake's hostage. He tells her he can't let her get away because she's keeping him alive. But eventually, she realizes that people everywhere are dying so she and her family can be immortal. She's always closed her eyes to the costs of her immortality. As Timberlake says, "No-one should be immortal if even one person has to die."
Timberlake and Seyfried start stealing years, Bonnie-and-Clyde-style, and giving them way to poor people. Kartheiser warns that if you put enough time in the wrong hands, it will upset the whole system. And Timberlake says he hopes so. As someone says: "His crime wasn't taking time, it was giving it away."
The overall impression of the footage is of splashy exciting fun, with Timberlake and Seyfried living dangerously and staying on the run, with lots of crazy car stunts and gunplay and jumping off stuff. It's a totally insane action movie with a really high concept, and with a cast that includes Murphy and Kartheiser, it looks like a lot of fun.
Timberlake came out and told us he was a huge fan of Niccol's movies, especially Gattaca and Truman Show. And he loved movies like The Fugitive, about an ordinary guy who's put into extraordinary circumstances and does extraordinary things.
"It seemed cool to me to have this character that was in this setting in the future, just an ordinary guy trying to stay alive," said Timberlake. And he said his favorite scene involves Cillian Murphy's character interrogating him and trying to get under his skin, after he's accused of killing the rich guy for his 100 years.