In Time: Existential Themes Essay

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In Time: Existential Themes

The existential themed film I am going to work on is called In Time. This movie exemplifies the authenticity and inauthenticity of life, and how angst gives us meaning. Being in the world, and finally existence preceding essence. These themes are some of the few that we have discussed in class and are from the very similar existentialists Martin Heidegger and Jean Paul Sartre. The specific writings from which I examined these themes are Being and Time and Existentialism is a Humanism. This movie not only symbolizes the troubles of humans and the reality of death in our society, but the problems with inequality and the large differences between the social classes. In Time provides a satire of our world with the only difference being money replaced by time. The movie really puts an emphasis on the phrase “time is money.”
This movie was made in 2011 and the main character is the famed Justin Timberlake. He plays Will Salas in this movie, a young man that experiences a life changing moment due to his need to help others. This film is based in a dystopian world in the year 2169. People in this world are born with a clock on their forearms measuring your time left to live. The time you have on your wrist is a form of currency, but it is also the way in which you die. When the clock reaches zero, you collapse on the floor and are dead. It is also important to note that your clock does not start until you are 25, in which the countdown of one year begins. Everyone in this world stops aging at 25 and does not look a day older. This world is broken up into sectors, Will lives in a ghetto called Dayton. The people that live in Dayton typically live off of one day of time and must work everyday in order to survive. The counterpart to Dayton is New Greenwich, where people typically have decades and centuries of time and live lavishly. Will’s life changes when he saves a man who has a century worth of time. This man is sick of living, and while appearing to be young, he is actually 105 years old. This man gives Will his 100 years of time after revealing to him that “for few to be immortal, many must die” (Andrew Niccol). Will tries to give some of this time to his mother but she dies while trying to reach him because she cannot take the newly higher priced bus. Will decides to go to New Greenwich where he is shocked by the life of the rich and decides to take action. He seduces the supporting character Sylvia, the daughter of a millionaire timekeeper. She decides to embark on a mission with Will, deeming her previous life boring and pointless. They begin a life of robbing time banks in order to distribute the time to the poor and break the system. The rest of the movie they continue to rob banks and give away the time to the poor people of Dayton.
This movie is unique because it takes away the inauthenticity of our lives and puts death in our faces. The people from this world see death in their forearms, and can count down the moment of their death unless they get more time. This reality gives the people of this world the possibility of being authentic – living as if you could die at any minute. This is all the more real when the people of this movie can literally have their time stolen and be left with only seconds to live. The people of this movie that live life inauthentically are the ones with the most time. The people of New Greenwich take their time with life and take everything for granted. An example of this in the movie is when a waitress in New Greenwich notices that Will is not from there because he eats too fast. They represent the people of our world, living as if death were not always imminent.
The man that gives Will the century says: “No one has to die before their time. If you had as much time as I have on that clock, what would you do with it?” Will responds with: “I'd stop watching it. I can tell you one thing. If I had all that time, I sure as hell wouldn't waste it” (Andrew Niccol).