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19th Feb 2024

People are saying underrated 2011 sci-fi perfectly predicts today’s world

Stephen Porzio

Though it received mixed reviews upon release, it has built up a cult following in the years since.

One movie that has built up a cult following in the years since its release is In Time, a 2011 sci-fi with an incredible premise.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War), the film is set in a future in which time has become the ultimate currency. Yes, time literally is money.

This is as humans have been genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthday, but are programmed to live only one more year – unless they can buy their way out of death.

As such, the rich can essentially remain immortal, while the poor are forced to beg, borrow or steal to earn enough hours to survive.

The movie follows a factory worker (Justin Timberlake) from the poorest ghetto who, with the help of a wealthy woman (Amanda Seyfried), aims to upset this system – while being pursued by a timekeeping cop (Cillian Murphy).

in time
Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in In Time

Upon release, In Time was a box office hit, grossing $174 million on a $40 million budget. However, it was seen as a bit of a critical disappointment, only earning a 37% Rotten Tomatoes score.

That said, while the general consensus surrounding the movie is that it does not fully capitalise on its very intriguing premise, it has garnered a legion of fans in recent years.

Amongst the praise for In Time is the way the film depicts the stark division between the rich and the poor, as well as the amount of time certain people in society have to give up to work just to stay afloat.

One Letterboxd user wrote:

“I really love the concept of this movie and it has a great political message [about] the real world where the top 1% have so much money they don’t know what to do with it and they’re overcome with greed while a big portion of us are struggling to get by day to day unable to get medication/food/essential things you need to survive.”

Another reviewer added:

“Time has become currency and everyone is on borrowed time once they stop aging at 25 years old. The rich have no problem living forever, while the poor are constantly struggling to add time to their lives and finding time to pay bills… Loved the story and the class war commentary.”

A third said: “Rewatched this movie after such a long time and I still love it. The concept is really interesting and I love how it still emulates our society,” while another wrote: “This is one of my favourite films, the concept is just so interesting, I would kill for a sequel or a series set in this universe.”

Meanwhile, a fifth Letterboxd user joked: “This movie made me a communist when I was 10.”

And for those eager to watch or re-watch In Time, the sci-fi flick is available to stream on Netflix.

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