The Disney+ Sci-Fi Thriller Races Against The Clock

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

In 2011, the sci-fi film In Time, featuring pop star Justin Timberlake, experienced a lackluster reception in theaters, earning its status as a major flop. However, over a decade after the film’s release, the tables have turned. The movie became a streaming hit on Netflix last fall, and now it’s thrilling subscribers on Disney+.

Time Is Money

Directed and written by Andrew Niccol, In Time transports viewers to a dystopian future (set in the year 2169) where time is not just a commodity but life itself. The story unfolds in a society where people cease aging at 25 and are allocated only one year to live, symbolized by a digital clock on their forearms counting down their remaining lifespan.

When the protagonist, Will Salas (played by Justin Timberlake), is unexpectedly given a surplus amount of time, he becomes entangled in a mission to challenge an oppressive system that hoards time and perpetuates social inequality.

In Time Has Aged Well

Despite facing criticism upon its initial release, In Time has gained a newfound appreciation, resonating with audiences for its exploration of themes such as inequality, class struggle, and the intrinsic value of time. The film’s narrative follows Will Salas and Sylvia Weis (portrayed by Amanda Seyfried) as they engage in time heists to disrupt the established order, all while being pursued by Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy), an enforcer of the oppressive time system.

The Cast

Adding to the lineup of Timberlake, Seyfried, and Murphy, In Time features a skilled ensemble cast that breathes life into its futuristic setting. Olivia Wilde from Don’t Worry Darling takes on the role of Rachel Salas, Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men embodies Philippe Weis, and Matt Bomer from Magic Mike plays Henry Hamilton. The cast also includes the talents of Jonny Galecki, Alex Pettyfer, and Will Harris.

Reviews Are Mixed

The critical reception for In Time was mixed at the time of its release, with only 37 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 53 based on 36 reviews. While infamous critic Roger Ebert praised the film’s intriguing premise, he noted the incorporation of standard and formulated elements. Another critic, Henry Barnes, highlighted the protagonist as a “Rolex Robin Hood” who represents the 99 percent. Even in the streaming age, In Time’s reception is diverse. Though the overall consensus seems to show that despite the formulaic elements, audiences appreciate the story of a regular guy standing up to a broken, classist system.

Justin Timberlake As An Actor

Justin Timberlake

In Time marked a significant chapter in Justin Timberlake‘s transition from music to Hollywood stardom in the mid-2000s. Following this sci-fi venture, Timberlake took on diverse roles in notable films and television shows, including The Social Network, Bad Teacher, and Friends with Benefits. Plus, let’s not forget his current hit franchise: Trolls.

Watch In Time On Disney+

Despite critical and financial failure upon its release, In Time has managed to capture an enduring appeal with its audience. Whether drawn to its social commentary, thrilling plot, or the not-so-subtle metaphor of time as currency, when viewers watch this dystopian film, they are invited to reflect on the value of time in their own lives and society.

As the film continues to captivate audiences on streaming platforms, In Time stands as a testament to the unpredictability of cinematic success and the enduring allure of a well-crafted sci-fi narrative.