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Headscratchers: In Time
  • Hooray, they're going to redistribute time to the poor! Which means, according to basic math, everyone lives for no more than twenty-six years...wait, what?
    • Everybody is technically immortal. They just have a killswitch implanted into them at a certain age. The Rich and powerful, the truly powerful, simply have a device with the infinity sign. The point of the system, is control. To be frank....the Rich and Powerful, the lucky the loyal the talented and the genetically gifted. Those people are being selected for. At any moment, all of the masses of poor can be wiped out at the touch of a button. Period. Death is still a part of life but aging isn't. And everyone who chooses youth everlasting unwittingly signs up to the most insidious form of 'cattle' control ever devised. The Powerful hardly even need weapons. They can wipe out anyone who has taken the chip. The entire human race exists purely for egotism or pity. Eventually, after all connections such as race and religion are truly gone, they Top whatever percent can and likely will take whoever they deem worthy, and kill everyone else while all manual labor is performed by robots. It's worse than Elysium. While Elysium has robots with human dexterity, they haven't goaded the entire populace into voluntarily taking an inbuilt kill switch. Wait....this movie is possibly a sequel....
    • It's never clearly established that the one year every individual is born with is all the time that there is. In fact, its said that there's no reason anyone has to die "before their time" (presumably meaning at least their 70s.
    • Even if there is "extra" time somewhere, presumably a stockpile from before the system was established or a bunch of time the rich people have accumulated over the years, so long as that amount is set, it will eventually even out to twenty-six years. The only way for it to work if they redistribute the time is if there is another source of new time entering the system. I suppose technically it's possible, but in order for everyone to live to seventy there would need to be another forty-four years entering the system somewhere every time a new person is born. If a source like that existed, you would think they would mention it somewhere in the movie. Instead, the main characters are just robbing stockpiles of stored time, which isn't sustainable in the long term.
      • Its obvious they can make more Time (it is constantly being burned anyway, a finite stockpile of the stuff is simply a key to extinction). However, such Time Mints would be under heavy guard for obvious reasons.
      • If there are Time Mints somewhere, then why does Will assume that all rich people's time has been "stolen" from someone else? It's true that there would probably have to be Time Mints for the system described in the movie to work the way it's illustrated, but it's not really consistent with the movie's message. I think the writers just didn't do the math.
      • Your probably right, it is also possible that the main character has simply not done the math though.
      • Because of the system itself. If you can turn off aging, it is entirely unnecessary to impose an artificial limitation on human lifespans. The system itself is straight-up genocide.
      • One more thing- how did Weis get so rich? Usury, that's how. He's lending desperate people the time they need to stay alive at 30+% interest. It's far from a stretch to assume that most of the other wealthy people got rich off of exploiting the system- if not by usury, then by engaging in various things that support the system, like making time capsules and time transfer devices.
      • The time capsules, gambling computers, pay dispensers, etc. are clearly electronic, so they'll read-out whatever a system admin with the right code tells them to. Weis is probably descended from (or a member of) the team that did the original programming, and undoubtedly has a "cheat code" that allows him to reset his count to 9999 years whenever he pleases. He could have been stashing away a million years every week for the past 85 years. The whole usury thing is just his obsession with social Darwinism and delusions of godhood manifesting in a sick game against his fellow "cheaters".
    • The one year limit is completely arbitrary and artificial. The aging of the entire human race can be stopped, seemingly indefinitely, this means a population explosion. The one year limit is simply a form of control. The rich get to live as long as they want but the poor have a limit, the amount of time in the system is in balance (just not a fair one). The economy (the real one, you know, ours) is similar, you don't solve a recession just by printing more money, this just imbalances its value. When our heroes Robin Hood their way through town they just cause the price of everything to go up, it is once they cause a massive imbalance that the system crashes (with the hope that a fairer one can be built in its place).
      • Well, technically they are not printing money, but only releasing reserves back into the system that were withdrawn from it.
      • If the amount newborns receive is artificial and arbitrary, why not give them 50 years? This would give an average lifespan of 75 and, since one year is now worth fifty, the economy isn't changed outside of a quick conversion.
  • If you can make people to stop aging at 25, give them a heart attack when the timer reaches zero, and allow time transfer by holding forearms, why not make it so that giving time to someone is entirely voluntary? Wouldn't this make it very difficult (if not impossible) to steal time? Why, the thieves would have to actually steal something physical and try to sell it for time on the black market... kinda like they do now. But you wouldn't have any muggings or the Minutemen.
    • Easy, the mafia is a part of the system. Anyone who accumulates too much wealth can pose a threat to the high society, so they use the mafia to ensure that people are kept poor. I'm sure the government keeps their "bribery cost" at a level to keep the mafia happy, but not too wealthy.
    • But it still doesn't explain why they didn't put more safeguards to stealing time. Sylvia had most of her time stolen when she was knocked out. If it was so simple, people would be sneaking into other's houses and stealing time off of sleeping people constantly. Why not wear encoded titanium wrist guards?
    • Possiby fridge brilliance; Stealing of time is allowed for the same reason the time keepers leave the minute men alone. So long as the poor are too busy stealing from each other, they'll never become organised enough to rise up against the rich and change the system. Plus, even with a "voluntary" requirement, who wouldn't volunteer to give up (most of) their time anyway, if you were holding a gun to their head?
    • Probably because death would mean your time would be useless for him...the clock runs until you are dead, at which point you cannot access it anymore. Itīs like you have a little C4 charge in your wallet that goes of when you die, if someone points a gun to your head, you just tell him that "Well, if you kill me, you have a murder on your check but arenīt any richer anyway." He could opt for torture, tho, threaten to kill by physical means (unlike threatening to kill by just taking all your time at once) doensīt work anymore.
  • It's not just the simplicity of personally taking time from another, it's ridiculously easy to steal time from anywhere. No-one else has ever thought to drive a truck through a bank window before? there's no security there at all. Need a few hours in a hurry? just ask the nearest cop car to dispense you some using the super secret code phrase "I need some time". Even the most infamous face in the world can get a job on the personal security force of the man who most wants him found using simple (though expensive) bribes.
    • It's pretty much established life has stopped, because the rich have so much time on their hands it's not worth it to rush with anything. On the other hand, the poor or the not-so-well-off like policemen are too scared of losing or wasting what little time they have to risk anything. Two of Leon's goons are not even considering jumping out of the same window Will and Sylvia did mere seconds before. Nobody tries to rob a bank like Will and Sylvia do, because they don't have time to think about it, living in a constant hurry. Not to mention the fact that if they tried something like that, they would have the Minute Men and the police on their asses. And I understood that part about Weis hiring one too many bodyguard wasn't to be taken literally - the people of New Greenwich live such boring, slow and safe lives, a dude simply looking like a bodyguard can fool them.
    • The bodyguard line was meant to imply that he hired so many bodyguards (all faceless to him) that he didn't notice there was an extra guard; Will.
  • Why is Will able to gamble, fight, use a gun, and drive like James Bond? I can accept him being very strong and fit from living in the ghetto, but his exceptional skills seem out of left field.
    • It's established at the beginning that he's good at gambling (when he meets the guy playing cards in the bar), it's not at all unrealistic that poor people would gamble. He never uses the gun with any particular level of skill, he only fires at point blank range, or fires general area shots to keep the time keeper at a distance. I agree about the driving though, since there doesn't really seem to be any traffic in the ghetto, and it's pretty clear he can't afford a car, so it's seems odd he's ever even driven before.
    • At one point, Sylvia asks him something to the effect of "do you even know how to drive?", and Will (driving backwards during a car chase) answers "how hard can it be?", so no, he can't drive, but the movie shows him doing a lot of pretty reckless things (swimming out into the ocean not having seen one before in his life, and most likely without knowing how to swim, jumping out of 2- story buildings, gambling all but seconds of his time), so I suppose the writers are trying to establish that people from Dayton, being an inch from dying all their lives, are willing to take many more risks than usual to preserve their time. This is also confirmed in the scene where Will is sure the cops wouldn't jump out of the window after them, and the two cops presumably born in a wealthier time zone don't, but Leon does- which shows quite clearly that he came from a poor family, probably in Dayton, since he knew Will's father.
  • What were the 13 digits on a person's clock? Will got up to 1100 or so years at one point, so it's 4 digits there. Obviously, seconds, minutes and hours have 2 digits apiece, 6, which is ten. What's the remaining 3 numbers for? Weeks, months, or days?
    • The thirteen digits refer to years (4), weeks (2), days (1), Hours (2), minutes (2) and seconds (2). That adds up to 13. It took me a while to figure it out too :)
      • But weeks are incompatible with years. That's what I was thinking the whole way through.
      • So months, then.
      • A (Gregorian) year is 52 weeks and 1 or 2 days. In the interest of simplification, they might have redefined it.
      • In the scene where the two main characters discuss the moment their "clocks" started (on their real-time 25th birthdays, presumably) hers can be seen ticking down from 0001:00:0:00:00:00 to 0000:51:6:23:59:59. This would seem to indicate that they redefined the calendar year to exactly 52 weeks and made seconds slightly longer.
  • As pointed out by at least one professional reviewer; if the rich wanted immortality all to themselves, why not just put a huge price on the implementation of the technology ("You want your baby to be immortal? Better shell out $10,000,000 for the genetic engineering") and call it a day? Giving the poor this system just so they can die a few years earlier than they would if you just didn't (Rachel is fifty - it's far shorter than a modern first world lifespan but compared to years gone by or even third world countries today it's not too shabby) is not only cruel, it's stupid. I mean, even if you just had to be a cruel dick to poor old people and their families, couldn't you, I don't know, put a fine on living past sixty and deny medical care to those who couldn't pay up? Is it really more convenient to put everybody on the "time is currency" thing? Or you know, you could even do that and still just stop providing medical care and other services after their time runs out. Why the instant-kill system, and why is everybody automatically engineered not to age? A fine for the old or just flat denying the "youth preserving" services to the poor is more like what it would like if this system were ever implemented for real (scary thought) and you can't tell me it wouldn't have made an equally compelling mov .... oh wait I just answered my own question. But is there a possible in-universe explanation for this?
    • Propaganda. They want people to have the illusion of immortality at arm's reach, so they will be conditioned to work with the system. Also, it removes good people entirely from the equation. In a world where everyone has to struggle, there is no one to help - apart from Will and Sylvia, the only two people offering charity is a rich dude and an actual charity worker. But the rich guy's first idea of coping with his immortality is to spend it on hookers and blow and then die by giving it out to a gangster and the charity is constantly in the shit. Deny health care and you'll have underground hospitals - something you won't have when the good guys have to fight for every second of their lives. Fine old people? They either won't be able to pay off anyway or they would simply evade paying. Having a killswitch works a lot better.
    • Science. Experiments in the past with cell division and gene splicing have now spread throughout the entire human race to the extant that people can't go back to aging the ordinary way, ie, their bodies getting older and wearing out. The 25-year cutoff point keeps the body at physical perfection at the price of compressing the next 50-60 years into one; this means a person's body needs time no less than food or oxygen in order to stay alive beyond that. Somehow the very wealthy/powerful figured this out early enough to learn how to steal time and live beyond the arbitrary cutoff, possibly even deliberately spreading the anti-aging gene in order to render the lower classes truly helpless against them.
      • Why not just find a way to make them infertile? Put anti-fertility drugs in the food/water supply, make reproduction a "rich person thing," and keep the system working off paper fiat. That'll keep the population in check, and the lower classes would arguably have less reason to rebel than seeing their life literally tick away until they die.
      • The system could have evolved into it's current state. Maybe when the technology was first developed, the government placed some kind of reasonable limit on lifespan (say 100 years) and everyone adopted it voluntarily. Then people started trading time, then it replaced currency, then the wealthy started stockpiling time and controlling prices to keep everyone young, hungry and desperate. The same kind of strategy was used in company towns until the last century (pull people in with good wages, then cut their wages and raise their cost of living so they can't save enough to quit or leave).
      • Infertility isn't controllable. With "time" as currency, it's a kill switch (as someone noted above) and easy to adjust the market supply. I think we can reasonable assume that fresh time is being minted somewhere, and Timberlake in this movie is an unreliable narrator. Combined with (another) commenter's astute observation that "time" generates no good guys—no underground hospitals—, it represents a brilliant mechanism of population control. If population was growing too slowly, you just flood the market with time, or as we discover in the movie—raise and lower prices to the cost-of-living. Each region is split into a time-zone anyway, and people can't _afford_ to move out of timezones (closed, _not free_ market). It's similar to truck systems of our former years, where "the company" paid employees in "company coin" that had no cash value.
  • So this whole world wide time "market" is so fragile that one bank robbery - not collapse: robbery - can knock the entire system on its ear? The subprime morgage industry had more safeguards than that!
    • The districts are conditioned to a certain amount of time - in the climax, some high-up worker for Weis declares they've "lost" some districts. Also, nothing exciting happens in this world. The rich can't be bothered and the poor are too scared to try, a ton of money getting casually stolen? That's fucking shocking, no wonder stock holders would panic.
  • It would be one thing if they were shown to be railroading Will into a murder charge - which they were - but Leon seemed openly baffled that one of the elite would willingly give his time away and "clock himself out?" Does ennui not exist in the future?
    • Look what an asshole Philip is. You wouldn't believe that too in such a society, especially since Leon comes from a poor background. And sure, boredom exists, but it's paper-thin - Sylvia is so excited about risks and thrills until she experiences them and Philip takes every loss of time a bit hard, even if he's worth millions.
  • How does a society like this exist without a full-time riot squad going around quelling riots and stopping rampages of people who's time is running out and they know they have no chance to get more? For that matter, how do you have such a society (where you can literally see you life running out) where the suicide rate isn't one in three?
    • Conditioning. Theoretically, everyone can be immortal. Also, you pay with your life. Suicide, unless you do it through giving up time, throws that precious currency to the crapper. Also, rioting wastes time, which you don't want to waste. And the rich people are too safe and bored to even consider some sort of army - Will sneaks up on Philippe by impersonating one of his bodyguards.
  • Pruned from Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • Will is shown buying a coffee that has gone up in price from 3 minutes to 4 minutes. If we assume they are expensive cups of coffee, but still worth purchasing, that puts the currency conversion between our universe and theirs at about 1 minute to 1 dollar. Using this metric, we can calculate what other things cost in dollar amounts. That bus ride Will's mum has to take costs 2 hours, which equates to $120. The tip Will leaves after his meal is 1 week, which equates to $10,080. Admittedly, there may be some sort of artificial inflation between time zones. But the bus ride and the coffee were in the same zone.
      • Apparently the economy is centrally controlled and prices are set to maintain the social order, rather than based on supply and demand. (Note that the powers that be can jack up prices and interest rates at will throughout the zones). Presumably, small ticket necessities (such as coffee) could be sold below their natural cost to keep the people placated, while necessities (such as rent and transportation) is kept artificially expensive so people can't get ahead. Doesn't totally justify it, but it makes a kind of sense.
      • Coffee is probably the worst commodity to judge price equivalencies by. Why? Because it's a stimulant, hence would be in massive demand among the Dayton poor, who scramble for every bit of extra wakefulness and haste they can get, and snootily disdained by anyone rich enough not to need caffeine. Of course it'd be the cheapest drink around.
    • Will's mom has to take a thirty minute bus trip. It usually costs an hour to ride. The bus driver tells her that the price is now two hours. She only has an hour and a half. She tells him "It's a two hour walk." He says "You'd better run." She does. A half hour later, Will is waiting at the bus stop, notices she's not on the bus, and runs for her. Assuming it's a two hour run, if he runs for a whole hour, and she runs for a hour and half, they should have met when she had about 15 minutes left.
      • Most humans cannot run for an hour and a half straight without stopping or slowing down. Even with all the running Ghetto inhabitants do, the average 25 year old is not going to pull that off. Especially if they started panicked and didn't conserve strength or keep their breath under control.
      • The problem lies in that Rachel says it's a 2-hour walk, not run. Let's say Rachel panics, loses her breath, and wastes time looking for help, and therefore only makes it to the halfway point. We still have to assume that Will cannot make it to the halfway point in under an hour. In other words, it works if the total distance would take Rachel 3 hours and Will 2 hours at a run.
      • You'd think after fifty years of living on the edge with barely days left to live, she would be a lot better at running by now.
      • She runs for most of two hours at fairly high speed, on pavement, in improper shoes, after a day of presumably tiring work, does a lot of yelling, and finishes up without being visibly winded or sweating — I train regularly and doubt I could do it.
      • She's seen banging on someone's door and slowing down to try and flag down a truck. Supposing she did this once or twice, add to that stopping to get her breath and/or panic. Okay, Will starts running when the bus stops and his mum doesn't get off, which shouldn't really give him that much time, then add to that stopping to catch his breath and/or panic. Then tell me what you've got.
      • We're later shown that a phone call costs a minute - she couldn't have called ahead?
    • What's even worse with that scene is the pricing. Why would anyone pay two hours a ticket if the trip takes two hours on foot at most? Walking = 2h trip + 0h price; bus = 2h price + 30min trip. The economy makes no sense.
      • But then again, until that fatal price rise, it used to be 1h to pay for a 30min trip, which would save you 30min. Why people still get on the bus after the raise is of course a bit confusing.
      • The increase in price from costly to not worth it is the nonsensical bit.
      • They're tired from working. The neighborhood might be scary (recall the visible fear on that one bystander — a woman who looks like Rachel would be ideal bait for a time-mugging gang). Some of them probably have different destinations and origins, thus different cost-benefit solutions.
      • It getīs even more confusing when you consider his mom KNOWS itīs a 30 minute busdrive, and the ticket costs an hour...with 1:30 on the clock, if the bus so much stops at a red light for too long, or has an accident, sheīll die...
    • That's not the only instance this comes up. Will is initially left with 116+ years after his encounter with Hamilton. He gives 10 of those years to his best friend when saying goodbye. That puts him at 106. He crosses several time zones in a rented limousine, most of which we don't see. The ones we do see deduct a month, then two months, then two more months, and finally a full year. After arriving, he then eats such an extravagant meal that leaving a full week to the waitress was considered an appropriate tip. Finally, when he checks into a hotel he's told by the front desk that a regular room is two months for a night, and promptly rents himself a suite. The next morning he wakes up with... 105+ years left. ...What?
      • There are no unseen tolls; Maps are seen many times throughout the film, they show that the route he took was 12-11-3-4, which is three tolls, which is what was shown.
      • The meal was 8 weeks, so he spent more than a year and eight months to get to that point. It works out assuming he started the trip with 106 years and around 11 months.
    • Time is the currency du jour, so as with for any other economy to function, there must be a limited (and controlled) supply of it in circulation. So yes, the total amount of time is finite....but as with real-world economies, the quantity in circulation wouldn't be fixed at a constant amount. If nothing else, several characters die/are killed with time still on their clocks (like Borel, who died with 9 years still on his clock; ie. removed from circulation).
      • If nothing else, everybody born who lives to 25 adds a year to the circulation.
  • Why did the time cops go through such trouble to jam up Will? Why is it so important to keep the have nots from becoming haves? Wouldn't letting the occasional serf hit it big serve as a much better - or in this case, a - carrot to go with the "work or die, literally" stick? Hell, left to his own devices, a guy like Will (goes from hand-to-mouth to wealthy literally overnight) will be dead (by excess, murder, or spending all his time) in less than a decade. I know the elite are paranoid, but you'd think some of them have something resembling forethought.
    • Weis is willing to stop the hunt (at least once his daughter becomes one of the hunted). It's Raymond Leon who is very insistent that Will be apprehended, since he knew Will's father, who was also a revolutionary troublemaker.
    • And a man as good at poker as Will is is in no danger of spending himself to death. Their patience would be sorely taxed if he went back to the casino and left with 10,000 years.
  • Anybody else find it weird that the rich characters still swear by Jesus, even though they've turned to trusting in their wealth for immortality?
    • Not really. After all, taking Jesus' name in vain isn't exactly showing a lot of respect towards Him, so I'd expect people who put their faith in wealth and immortality to throw the name around casually.
      • I know hardcore atheists who say "Jesus Christ!" or "Oh my God!" when stressed — it's just a cultural convention. We Christians are the ones who don't say it.
  • Where are the originals? The people who instituted this system in the first place? THEY must surely still be around.
    • Not necessarily. If the "no aging" thing is caused by an induced germline mutation (as opposed to a somatic mutation), that means the people who originally instituted it could have it doen for their children as embryos, but couldn't do anything for themselves, meaning they would have died off while their children stayed young forever.
  • Where's the middle class? Who's cleaning houses, installing new floors, cooking the food, polishing the china? There must be a middle class, but instead we just have rich vs poor.
    • I was under the impression the film was a metaphor for the current widening gaps between rich and poor.
    • We only see two timezones: the one with the dirt poor people and the one with the filthy rich, but we see you have to move through at least two more time zones to go from one to the other. Probably the middle class people live in those two other timezones.
    • While watching the film, I just assumed the time zones divided up different classes sequentially. Therefore, places like Daytona are on one end, and as you keep moving one way, you get higher prices to make it to the higher classes. That way people could theoretically earn their way up by getting more and more extra time in each zone in order to pay each increasing toll.
  • All this technology for time, and they can't have a good, solid birth control system?
    • They seem to have. There are apparently very few children to be seen.
  • A bus driver recognizes them, but they bribe him to be quiet. No one else on the bus notices them?
    • They're benefiting from their crimes, so why report them?
  • It's a little surprising that the people in charge don't have a remote system of removing time from an individual. The police could even make it nonlethal per se, reducing a person's time temporarily to one minute "Come back and get in the car to get your time back!"
    • A wireless system could potentially be compromised. If someone breaks in, they could kill hundreds or thousands of people at once. Keeping time in the same exchange fashion as regular money limits the potential for abuse.
  • If the worst crime you can commit is give away time, why is there a Mission that seems to do this all the time? Well okay, maybe it's there because the government can control it and limit how much they get. But then why is it untouched after so obviously being the hub that redistributes all the stolen time, time and time again? Is there some never-discussed religion that has special legal protections?
    • Giving away time, trading it, or anything like that isn't a crime in itself. What the people in charge do mind is when a large amount of time falls into an area in which it doesn't belong, upsetting the balance that keeps the system running. They punished Will because he got a crap-ton of years out of nowhere and jumped numerous class zones. By the time the Mission is distributing stolen time, too much of it is being stolen for the Timeminders to police, and the Mission distributes it so quickly that it would be nigh-impossible to confiscate it all without a major riot.
  • Look, obviously this movie suffers from a particularly egregious case of Hollywood Economics, but this really bugs me: money works as a medium of exchange precisely because it has no intrinsic value of its own. It's just electrons or paper, or, in an earlier age, shiny bits of metals whose only practical applications are decorative. But time? Time in which to live? What commodity would or could have more value? Wouldn't there be a collapse in consumer spending, since there's hardly much point in buying anything if you aren't around to enjoy it? Wouldn't the currency circulate at a much lower rate than we are used to in the real world? Especially since credit is so scarce in the world of the film (30% interest). Wouldn't that, plus the fact that everyone's savings were constantly being depleted every second cause massive deflation? Wouldn't the government constantly be pumping time into the system just to keep the economy from grinding to a halt?
    • A medium of exchange doesn't have to be worthless — people traded the vital necessities (food, firewood, tools, etc) long before money was invented. You trade time out of your life at a job and then turn it into DVD rentals and other "less valuable than time" things.
      • Food, firewood, tools, etc., are precisely not media of exchange. Barter is trade without a medium of exchange. There is a reason, moreover, that when people started inventing the first media of exchange, they didn't use food, firewood, tools, or anything that could spoil, wear out, or be put to some other use.
    • Many of our current economic problems are a consequence of our overdependence on worthless "fiat" currency, especially inflation. In fact, the massive inflation caused by the rich hiring computer hackers to reset their time counters (not seen happening in the movie, but virtually inevitable given the observed technology) would act to oppose the deflationary influence you describe, giving an at-least-temporary stability. Finally, don't overlook the effect of non-rational, ill-informed, and just plain scared decision-making by the masses. ANY system can work for a while, as long as enough people buy into it, and people have fallen for some pretty crazy ideas here in the real world.
      • In real life, all currencies are worthless: gold is an almost completely worthless, useless metal, except insofar as it is given value, or, more precisely, price, by social convention. And your Fan Wank that computer hackers must be hacking people's clocks to give them more time—for which there is no support in the film—doesn't really work, because that would crash the system instantly; all you'd need is one poor person learning the same computer trick. But that's a great illustration of my point: in real life, counterfeiting is a serious problem precisely because money has no intrinsic value. In the scenario you are describing, the hackers who would be adding time to people's clocks would not be counterfeiters, because they would be creating something of real value! A person who can create more food, or more clothing, or more medicine, or more of anything with real value, is not a counterfeiter. Time has real value, so a person who could create more of it would not be a counterfeiter.
    • This is actually one of the few things the film got right. The point is to have a working class that creates all wealth but consumes very little and the immortals class the consumes all what's left. Having the workers consume the fruits of their labor is the last thing the rulers want!
      • It is not at all one of the things the film got right. The intent of the system might very well be to have the working class create all wealth (which is a fallacy just by itself, since the working class does not create all wealth, or anywhere close to it), but consume very little of it, but that would never work. Catastrophic deflation is inevitable in a system in which the money supply is constantly shrinking, which is what's happening as everyone's time constantly runs out. Catastrophic deflation would collapse the entire economy. Needless to say, the rich do not benefit from economic collapse. To put it another way, the problem with a deflationary spiral is that, whatever the workers are producing isn't worth as much as what you have to pay them. That's why deflationary spirals produce high unemployment; see, for example, The Great Depression. In this society, high unemployment would almost certainly lead very quickly to radical social unrest and political upheaval.
  • Also, maybe this is more Fridge Horror than a Headscratcher, but wouldn't incest be rampant in this society? At least among the upper classes? After all, everyone is eternally young and beautiful, and the upper classes certainly seem prone to low-risk hedonism, which would hardly be surprising among immortals.
    • That assumes that age is the only thing keeping people from having sex with their own children/parents right now. There are also pretty strong social and psychological controls that prevent such things.
      • Yes, but the point is that those social and psychological controls would break down in a society like that of New Greenwich. If your parents are 1040 years old, and you are 1000 years old, and you all look 25, that's a very different situation than what exists in real life.
      • I think the rich would prefer to have plenty of casual sex with other rich friends than with relatives, as that is low-risk hedonism, (and there is a biological effect where you are not attracted to those you are raised with and are related to, although some cultures overrided this) so maybe friends with benefits relationships are common among the rich.
  • Wouldn't the system they have instituted backfire horribly? After all, the whole point of the system is to keep eternal youth from causing the population to grow out of control. But under the system, everyone ages normally until 25 and then gets a free year. Wouldn't that give every couple the incentive to have many children? After all, have ten kids, get ten free years into the household. And you can do it, since presumably with eternal youth comes eternal fertility. By contrast, making extra time cheap would incentivize people to have fewer children. After all, two of the primary reasons people have children is to have someone to carry on their name and legacy, and to have someone to care for them in their old age. If you know that you are effectively immortal and eternally young, those incentives disappear. So wouldn't this system backfire completely?
    • You don't have kids, do you? Children consume costly food, clothes, toys, babysitters, school supplies, repair & replacement of things they break, medical care... You can bet that the cost of these things exceeds the extra year each brings in, especially in a carefully-controlled peasant-killing economy.
      • Have you seen the cost of raising a child? In the real world, raising a child to age 18 in, say Britain, costs something on the order of Ģ100,000 for necessities. I imagine the cost of raising a child to 25 in the film world would be at least several millennia, maybe even a couple of orders of magnitude more...
      • In fact, Rachel's maternal affection for Will actually killed her, because she gave him 30 minutes for lunch before she left for work...30 minutes she could have really used later.
      • Will is shown having less than half an hour on his clock at one point before he gets his gift, so she'd likely be dead either way.
      • You are all assuming the existence and enforcement of modern child labor laws. But as we see in the film, law enforcement in Dayton is basically nonexistent. So children would be put to work at around the age of, let's say ten, which, by the way, was quite normal 100 or so years ago. They would proceed to be earning time for fifteen years before their clocks started running at all. Add the free year to that, and having children would be profitable, maybe very profitable, in this world. Oh, and don't forget, historically, people started having children long before the age of 25.
      • Not to mention that historically poor families tended to have more children for precisely this same exact reason. More children = more workers to bring food onto the family's dinner table. This isn't just empty reasoning, it is a known social phenomenon in the world (ours) that there is a strong inverse correlation between wealth and number of children.
  • "No one should be immortal, if even one person has to die." Big problem with that: It's called population growth. Even in the modern-day world, some places are starting to feel issues from the sheer number of people. Imagine if everyone was immortal. That would only make things worse. So, with immortality, either some highly effective method must be put into place to prevent people from having children, or people need to be culled. Otherwise, everyone will die just to be immortal. Until they somehow solve the whole "people need to eat" issue, of course. In short, the so-called antagonists are people who profit off a system that makes sure that makes sure that everyone doesn't starve. Sure, they've got hundreds of years hoarded up and are letting people just die, but how is that different than, say, us Americans not making sure everyone else has enough to eat?
    • Yes that is the entire heavy handed metaphor of the movie. Congratulations.
      • Except the US isn't stockpiling food and artificially decreasing the amount of food other countries make, so that can't possibly be the metaphor. The real obstacle to abolishing world hunger is distribution, but with an electronic resource like in the film distribution isn't a problem.
    • Well, the problem isn't really "Everyone should live forever." It's more along the lines that no one should live forever on the efforts of those who can't. Sort of, "Why do you get to be special?"
  • Something bugs me with "Will's mother death". First, how can she only just have an hour and a half after a day of work? And second, she basically expected Will to be able to lend her something like at least a day if we consider that people are "paid" at the end of their work day). Is it me or if he wasn't for that rich guy to be giving his century to will both would have actually died (likely during their sleep)?
    • Will's mother lost most of her time paying off her loan from Weis Timelenders. And while the values are pretty off where the whole movie is concerned, Will and his mother presumably would have had enough time, just barely, to keep going to the next day. Will wakes up with barely any time on his clock at the start, certainly not enough for a full day of work. Besides, part of the point of the film is that the poor are being worked to death.
  • How the hell can lending for interest work (I get the allegory of the payday loans thing, but... why? Everyone gets paid at the end of each day already (to keep them dependent), and all transactions are immediate exchanges, there's no "check" in this economy, so... what does a payday loan get you? I mean, the point of lending for interest is a way to employ some arbitrage around the time-value of money, but since time is money, there's no benefit to borrowing it at interest - I can see where those in immediate danger of timing out would take out a loan, but why would they repay it? Why it would be common practice?
    • Because if your clock hits zero, you die. Therefore, anything that keeps your clock from hitting zero is worth the cost.
      • The troper's question was "why repay it". And it's a good one. People do worse things than not pay off loans when threatened with, you know, DEATH.
    • No one is shown fully repaying a loan, Will's mother is shown making a payment (presumably just the interest). So the answer to "why repay at all?" is "so the bank continues to do business with you and you don't die."
      • The problem is that if you're late with a payment and DO die, the bank never gets any of the time you might still owe it back. There's no way for lenders to recoup loans from defaulters in this system, the way they can foreclose on material wealth in Real Life, and no way to garnish wages if the loan's recipient is dead and hence no longer able to work.
      • The loans are a pittance compared to the total profits of the company. They can afford the occasional lost account because they are making an almost literal killing off the high interest rates.
  • One thing that really bothers me is - why didn't people develop some kind of underground currency that is NOT time? Or even resort to basic barter with their possessions. I mean, it would only make sense for there to be a sort of black market that wouldn't require you to pay with your life time. Yet the movie not only does not show any signs of it, it pretty much shows the people think only about paying with time, even in their lowlife bars. No one is shown to just sell off their stuff to others for food, preserving their time. That's as far from real life as it can get, forgetting that value isn't something strictly defined and centrally controlled, but a concept, so you can get anything as long as you have something another person wants. I don't recall pawn shops either, which are ubiquitous in poor areas. The screenwriters simply wrote the people not thinking of any other way to get goods else than paying with time, and any other way to get time that's not working or stealing. When you take that into account, all the above theories of how the system still stays afloat simply come apart at the seams. They just defy human nature.
    • Pawn shops like the one Will and Sylvia sell her earrings at when they are down to their last minutes?
  • How on Earth is Sylvia able to run with her high heels? It's clearly established that the rich do not run. Moreover, only people from ghetto are good at it as shown with Leon: the timekeeper being a good runner made Will realize he was originally from the ghetto, too. Sylvia is only portrayed as a bit slower than Will when she should have notable trouble with running, even without the very, very high heels.
  • Given Leon's background and lifestyle it could be presumably safe to assume he is very keen on his own time. It was shown that he has about 44 minutes left when he encountered runaway Will and Slyvia at Greenwich and started to give chase. Given that he has chased them all the way to Dayton and if he succeed in eventually capturing them wouldn't he still need some more time to get them back to the timekeeper's headquarter for processing? Shouldn't he replenish after the car crash? And isn't the process only a few seconds? How would that even affect the chase?
  • Given how important the time capsules are you would have thought they would put some kind of electronic failsafe like matching serial code to be entered to switch on each time capsules before distributing it at the bank. Or an identity recognition system for the police car. Or a special electronic lock for the super important one million years capsule and hide it somewhere more heavily armed.
  • How really does the all these works? Some sort of genetically programmed cell death that can be overwritten electronically by the time capsules? How do they transfer time to others by holding hands?
  • How does Poker (particularly the casino Will goes to) work in this system? People are shown depositing their time into the pot, and that decreases their counter until the round is over. Wouldn't the richest person win every single time by putting in more time than anyone has so that they couldn't call?
    • There's probably a betting limit. Besides which, even in no-limit hold-em, you can call a bet larger than your own stack by going all-in. They simply set some small amount that leaving anything under it is considered going all-in.
  • If Timekeepers who weren't born in the ghetto are complete wusses, wouldn't they recruit all the Timekeepers from the ghetto? If you screened out potential rebels carefully enough, you'd have a force full of fearless, ruthless Timekeepers who were very grateful to the system for getting them out of the ghetto like Leon, rather than Timekeepers who stand back like they're afraid they're gonna break a nail.
    • Will's something of an oddity, being crazy enough to take risks that others won't. The Timekeepers don't have to all be badasses. They have both numbers and guns.
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