Set in a purposefully vague time in the future, the value of money no longer exists. Instead, TIME is now the currency in which all value is now measured. Quite literally, the only way to live your life, is to pay with your life; or at least portions of it. The film never really goes deeply into the science about how or why the transfer was made from fiat currency to time currency, but the systems of control that unfold are evident in what I consider to be the greatest adaptation of the caste system in modern fiction. When you are born, you have a glowing timer on your left arm, and you are gifted with one full year of time. The timer begins to countdown on the day your turn 25 years old, however, once that timer starts you cease to age another day. The way you look and feel when you are 25 is how you will look and feel for the rest of your life, so long as, you have time remaining on your clock.
Justin Timberlake (Will Salas) and Olivia Wilde (Rachel Salas) portray a low class mother and son family that are struggling to live day to day. When Will was born they needed to use all but a days' worth of the year that he had in order to catch up on back debts that his family had accrued. So, everyday they both go to work in hopes that they will have enough time to make it through the next day, and repeat the cycle. On one such evening, after he is done with work, Will goes to the local bar with his friend Borel (John Galecki). By the time that he arrives, Borel is already a few drinks in and Will soon discovers the reason for it. A man with over a century on his clock is buying the entire bar round upon round of drinks. A fear shoots up Will's spine as he can see the inevitable outcome of the situation, and attempts to warn the man that he is in danger of time thieves, known as minutemen, cleaning his clock. Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) hears and subsequently ignores the advice and the inevitable does happen. The criminals burst through the door and demand the time on his watch. Will helps the man escape and they hold up in a nearby warehouse until the sun breaks the next morning. When Will awakens, he sees that Henry has left, but has also left something behind. He has given Will all but 5 minutes of the time that he had the night before. Now that Will has over 100 years to change his life, he proceeds to gift some to his friend and then wait with great anticipation for his mother to come home from work to the exciting news that their world was about to look very different hence forth.
Waiting at the bus stop for her and the scene that comes after, is by a great margin, the saddest scene in any film that I have ever scene. Before she had left for her two days of work, his mother had given him an extra half-hour of time for a better lunch, and as she was boarding the bus for her departure, she shockingly discovered that the cost had gone up by that exact amount; leaving her with no time to make it home to her son. She takes to the ground and begins to run for her life. As the bus doors open and close at Will's location you can see the realization that there was something wrong and he in turn sprints towards the location of his mother. As she rounds the corner with seconds left, they see each other. One arm outstretched and desperate. I wont spoil any further what happens but it sets the precedent for the remainder of the films tempo and plot.
So if you are looking for a film that will make you cry, will anger you in a way that you need to be angry, and give you a reason to cherish every single second that you have left, this would be the only recommendation I would have for you. Aside from the story itself, the performances by every single actor/actress in the film are above par. I would like to mention that this is an excellent performance by Amanda Seyfried (Sylvia Weis), and without her the film would have been lacking.
Throughout history there has always been a struggle between those with power and those without, but this story brings that to a personal level, and is unmatched in the telling of it. Mostly the stories are told about a grand scheme that operates to provide those with power with a life that those without power can only dream of, but it takes a near miracle for that system to be shaken or even broken. The reason that this story is above par is that it shows that one person can make the difference. One person with the will and determination to operate outside of the norm, can change the lives of millions of people. It also tells the story of Hope, and why that feeling is the most important for those in power to control. Hope is a fire that blazes the soul of the those that are less-fortunate, born into a world that was designed to tax them from the cradle to the grave. I have wondered myself, lately, what part I am to play in the coming changes of this world. I wonder how alone I am in that thought process. I believe that changing one life for the better is a life that is well-lived. I hope that you are remaining hopeful in a bright future, and not giving up when the brink of change is just around the corner.
I hope this article finds you well, and if it finds you in a dark place; please understand that it is not the end. The end comes for us all, and all a man can do is throw up a middle finger in the face of despair and press on. The darkest night is just before the dawn.