(Oh, and also, let’s not mention the fact that I’m reviewing this film twenty-seven years after it came out. I just watched it on DVD, so shutup already.)
In the few-chuh, people have been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25. At that point, everyone’s inner countdown clock starts ticking. Everyone gets one year. Period. Give it away, get it from others, spend, trade, and otherwise use that year. It’s currency, baby.
Everyone’s remaining time is conveniently imprinted on their forearms. And you give someone time by gripping their forearm and turning to the left. You take time by turning to the right. (Maybe vice versa, but go with it.) It makes perfect sense, because humans today also have their entire net worth displayed on their bodies, and can give or take money by physical force! Seriously, is this not the rapiest* system ever? I mean, sure, they have a sort of banking system where you somehow put your time in a capsule, but still. If someone takes all the time you have on you, you are finito.*
As is always the case, few-chuh society includes haves and have-nots. The people with thousands of years and the people who live literally day-by-day. In the film, the haves are represented by the guy who plays Vincent “Pete Campbell on Mad Men” Kartheiser and Amanda “Crazy Eyes” Seyfried. The have nots include Mr. Justin Timberlake** and one of the dudes from “The Big Bang Theory.” Timberlake and Seyfried meet and fall in love and decide to take down The System, as couples are wont to do in these dystopian dealios. They just have to get past Seyfried’s dad (Kartheiser) and the law and a couple other minor obstacles.
Ridiculous logistics aside—don’t get me started on the impracticality of either using currency as time or stopping the aging process at 25—this is a film that does two things well: it moves fast and it looks good. I couldn’t believe most of it was shot in Los Angeles; I was sure it was Canada, or Europe, or possible the actual few-chuh. The world is full of more weird architecture than I realize.
I can’t totally get behind the idea of busting open the system and letting everyone have all the time they want. Too Communisty.* There’s a scene where Kartheiser opens a giant vault in his apartment to reveal a capsule holding his first million years. It’s so over-the-top and stick-in-to-the-99-percenters that I got a li’l shiver.
It’s a fun conceit to think about, though.
* Word? Not a word?
** Who got that SNL reference?