Andrew Niccol wrote and directed this 2011 film, which stars Justin Timberlake as a man living in the ghetto of Dayton in the future. Exactly how far in the future is unclear, though in most respects the time closely resembles the present day. In this future, people no longer age post-maturity; at age 25, they simply stop growing older and continue to look 25 no matter how many more years they live. But, ostensibly to avoid overpopulation, everybody has an internal timer, visible through the skin of their arm, which reads out how much time they have — and everyone is given one year on their 25th birthday. When that time runs out, they simply die. Surviving past one’s 26th birthday means that one has to earn additional time, and time has become the main currency in the world. People spend time on goods and services, earn time for their work, and steal time from each other on the streets. The rich have eons and live in luxury; the poor quite literally live from day to day.
It’s a concept with a lot of ramifications, with many different aspects that could be explored. I have no qualms in saying that it’s perhaps one of the best and most creative science-fiction concepts to hit the cinema in years. But my praise for this film largely ends with the concept; the rest of the film just doesn’t live up it. Continue reading