Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Time - Extra Credit

"For a few immortals to live, many people must die." 

We are presented with a future world in the movie, In Time, in which time has become so precious that it has now become currency.  Somehow, our bodies are born (or implanted with a device) that begins ticking when we reach the age of 25 so that those who work get paid in time and have to buy their necessities like food and rent in time.

There are also time zones (don't think like what we have -Eastern, Central, etc., but different parts of a larger city), segregated communities that you must pay time to get into.  Just think of gated cities within a much larger city - this is a way to keep the very poor out of (what can only be assumed to be) a middle class or upper class time zone, because the more Will pays as he heads towards the wealthiest part of town, the price continues to go up.  So, in essence, there still is free passage among the city, but only if you can afford it.  But since many can't afford it, the poor are stuck in their slums.

The movie focuses most of its time on poor characters who are working day-to-day and struggling to survive.  When wages go up, the prices of goods go up, so there's no real way for the poor to get ahead.     And of course, in such a dog-eat-dog world, there are also gangsters who try to steal peoples' time - the Minutemen.  And when the clock runs out on someone, he/she is dead.  Even the timekeepers, the police of this dystopian society, are barely paid decent wages in order to stay alive.  Sadly ironic, the ones that are entrusted with enforcing the system don't get paid enough.

The rich, on the other hand, are trapped in a different kind of gilded prison.  With decades, even centuries on their clocks, they continue to look the same as they did when they were 25 even though they might be 107.  The one creepy Freudian thing is when Phillipe Weis introduced his mother, wife and daughter (Sylvia) who all looked very similar.  Sylvia and Will hit it off and that's when Sylvia said that all the wealthy needed to do was stay out of trouble and they could live forever.  Play it safe = live forever.  So, unlike Will who lives by the phrase, Carpe Diem, Sylvia never took chances until she met Will.

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to 1. apply a philosopher or philosophic concept to any part or parts of this movie that you find apply to this movie.  2. Find a weakness in the movie, whether it be in the plot, concept, etc. and explain why.

+10 max extra credit.   
Due by Sunday, November 27.   


  1. In Time was not as good as I thought it would be. I thought it would be a cool idea for a movie to be paid in time. It just seemed like too much money was spent on the retro police cars then and not enough on scripting. The way the script was written tried to make every line spoken sound way to dramatic. Every 5 seconds, someone would take a dramatic breath or say a catchy quote. (Ex: When Will was asked what he would do with lots of time he responded "I know one thing (deep breath) i sure as hell wouldn't waste it).
    What bothered me with the plot is how time is regenerated. When the aging gene was turned off and time became currency, there had to have been a limited number of time (If there wasn't everyone would live forever and the plot of the movie wouldn't work). And if everyone is using these minutes. Eventually they will have to run out. If your clock doesn't begin until your 25, and you begin with one year on your clock, then it would be next to impossible for Mr. Weis to get 1,000,000 hours. I wish the movie would have done a better job explaining how these billionaires accumulated their money.

  2. Plato and Aristotle would be very disappointed. I mean the real weakness in the movie is obvious. I mean the only way one couldn't see it is if they were blind and deaf. Who at 20th Century Fox, thought Justin Timberlake would be the ideal candidate for this movie? I mean, if I was thinking I needed a serious actor to portray a dystopian action movie, I don't think he would be in my top 1000. That being said, if I wanted someone to sing me "bye, bye, bye" he would probably be in my top 2 or 3.

    Am I rambling on about nothing... Yes. Just wanted to say what's up Mr.Wickersham. Snowballers for life.

    Note: I haven't actually seen the movie, but if I did, I would have those opinions... probably.

    Moose (former 5th hour Honors Philosphy student)

    P.S: I didn't check for spelling or grammatical errors. However, I think the answer above is worth at least .5 extra credit points.

  3. Crystal Oropeza
    Hour 5

    The movie In Time made me think of a robin hood type movie, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor…except with time as your life. It was really sad seeing Will miss grasping his mom’s hand to give her some of his time on her birthday while rushing to reach her. Will was very considerate and thoughtful to others including his friends and family. Once he obtained time from the super rich man Will even gave some time to his friend and a little girl at the beginning of the movie. This shows he wasn’t selfish instead he was very generous. These events lead to my connection to philosophy. Will and Sylvia were on the run and helped the slums and poor get more time to live, they didn’t care who got in their way. This all reminds me of Socrates belief- how should we treat each other when no one’s looking? He shifted the focus of that time to people’s conduct and how they acted including their attitudes. He had 6 virtues- courage, justice, beauty, wisdom, temperance and piety. Will obtained some of these characteristics. He was extremely courageous…after all he practically stole Sylvia and held her hostage at first. He fought for what was just, the rich shouldn’t hog all the time, the poor should be able to live long too. He was also wise, he was smart and intelligent, he seemed to think about his actions before he did them. He seemed to show the Golden Rule often, treat others how you would want to be treated. He never was greedy with his time, as I said before he would give it away and fought for the poor to be able to get time from the time building. Will’s actions also reminded me of Kant’s belief- The Universal Moral Law. This belief included behaving in all situations and when you do something, make sure you want everyone else to do the same in that situation. For example if you think about stealing, you should think- would you want to live in a world where everything was stolen and everyone stole? Will didn’t want time to be stolen, he wanted everyone to have it, it shouldn’t be fought over. He wanted everyone to be equal, including the poor. He thought it was wrong only the rich were able to live a long life and was sick of the poor dieing like his mother and friend.

    A weakness in this movie to me was the whole concept. I understand that the rich living long and poor dieing young is the main theme of this movie, but I necessarily wouldn’t want to live forever. The key question to me is- even if you could get more time to extend your life by decades, or even centuries, would you really want to? For example, the poor lived normal lives like us in that aspect. They died, and then their kids died, it was normal. The rich didn’t die, ever. While Philippe Weis was introducing Will to his mother, wife and Sylvia (daughter) they all looked the same because they had so much time. Personally, I think that’s kind of gross. I wouldn’t want to be the same age as my mother or look the same age either. The super rich man in the bar that Will came across and eventually was given his time, didn’t seem to know what to do with his life. He was spending all his time in the bar buying drinks. He seemed sick of having all that time. Plus the time thieves immediately tried to attack him to steal his time. If I had a lot of time I wouldn’t want to live in fear of being mobbed for my time aka life.

  4. I think the most obvious philosopher to connect the movie to would be Karl Marx. In “In Time”, Will Salas is almost like the future Karl Marx. A lot of the beliefs Karl Marx had were the same beliefs that Will had. The first time the movie reminded me of Karl Marx and his attitude towards society was when they showed the difference between how the poor lived and how the rich lived. This is almost exactly like the scene in Sophie’s World in the Marx chapter when there was the little match girl and Scrooge, and the little match girl needed the money while Scrooge wouldn’t waste a penny to help her. I thought of that part of Sophie’s World during the time that Will and Sylvia were sitting in the car hiding from the cops; Will told Sylvia to give him some time because he was running out and she said that she wouldn’t even give him a second. Just like Karl Marx, Will Salas also thought we should be more equal. They both thought that the working class didn’t nearly earn what they should while the rich live easily while other people work for them. One of the most important quotes from the movie, “For one person to be immortal, many others have to die”, shows that the rich take advantage of the working class. Will wanted to take the time from the rich people and distribute the time to all of the people in the slums who are living on days. This is a lot like how Karl Marx wanted to distribute the wealth more in society.

    I don’t think there was too much of a weakness in the movie. The one thing I can say that I’d like to see more of, though, is background information on how the currency changed from money to time. It would be cool to see an entire prequel to “In Time” because it would then make more sense. I know part of the reason the currency changed is for the whole “survival of the fittest” reason, but I’d still like to know how they program people to be like that and how the whole idea of it started.

  5. In Time extra credit– Simon Trask

    1) – Connect a philosopher
    The movie, In Time, was an interesting film. I saw a distinct mix of capitalism and Despotism, the despot essentially being the rich. The movie portrayed what some people view as capitalism, I feel that Karl Marx would have thought that this film (without all of the time puns and just in time moments) could portray his experience and idea of capitalism. Karl Marx believed that capitalism causes a separation between the upper and lower classes, in the case of in time that separation was so great that you physically could not escape from the poor class (the only exits required you to pay large amounts of time upfront, when the majority live day-by-day or even sometimes minute-by-minute it is impossible to escape). In the film the poor eventually get feed up with the way they live and proceed to riot and protect the robin hoodistic main characters. The system collapses as the poor get free time, explosive like the matchstick girl in Sophie’s World.

    2) – weaknesses of the film
    One problem with the film that I saw was the fact that everyone start off with only one year, I mean one year isn’t really a lot when you think about it, you would use that year to buy food, pay for rent, to get to work (whether by bus or just walking), and of course to stay alive in general. You wouldn’t really be left with more than a couple weeks to spare if you made a decent wage, not enough for the next year at least. Mr. Weiss, the cruel capitalistic banker and Sylvia’s father, had more than a million years saved away, since each person came into the world with 1 year this would mean that he had “killed” 1,000,000 people just to get that little capsule of time. This does add to his cruelty and oppressive nature (though he didn’t seem bad when he was talking to others in the wealthy class). The film never really described how it all came about they just dropped you into a realistic world without any sense of how it came about, the technology was essentially put to science fiction, which is great when it is something unrealistic or significantly distant (such as warp speed travel in Star Trek and how the zombies in the Walking Dead can be created by contact) but not when the movie seems to be in the near future or a plausible technological step. In all I did like the movie but I wouldn’t say it was great or flawless.

  6. 1. I want to start by saying that I really liked "In Time" and I was happy I saw it. I actually made a couple of connections to different philosophers when watching it, but the one that was resonating with me throughout the entire film was the ideas of Karl Marx. I think the reason I kept noticing it was because that was who my group studied for the "Who's Your Philosopher?" project and I'm a little more sensitive to those concepts. But Karl Marx had the same belief as Will and eventually Sylvia too. This idea is about fighting for the working class who wont defend themselves, but still have rights and are no less significant than those with money, or in this case time. Though Marx was a communist, his basic concept was that of spreading the wealth, making sure everyone had their fair share and that it was equal, much like Will's goal in this movie. Will really disagreed with the injustice of the separation of classes, as did Marx. I found it interesting that in the movie, the classes were literally separated. And the same way Marx applies to this movie's concept, so does Sartre and some of his beliefs. Sartre shared the beliefs of Karl Marx.

    2. The main weakness I found in the film was its inconsistencies. The first of which was with the way the government controlled peoples time on earth with some kind of internal time clock it would seem they could easily track them or at the very least lock them out of getting more time. Another inconsistency was the way the transfer of time was controlled from person to person. When someone stole time they just held on and the victim seemed to have no control over the loss of time. But at the end when Will and Sylvia run to each other and embrace with their arms so that he can save her with the “time” he has just gotten from the time warden’s allocation through his car, they stay embraced. Could he have gotten that much time that they could stay locked that long? Seemed unlikely to me. Maybe these are subjective, but this was what really bothered me about the film, these lingering questions of inconsistencies.

  7. “For a few to be immortal, many must die. For one to die, a few must be immortal.” This was one of the last, if not the last lines in the movie. This was my favorite part and I whipped my phone out right then and there to write it down. It reminds me a lot of Karl Marx…the whole movie really. Marx was big on the whole “disparity of wealth” thing, much like Salas. Marx said that capitalism was the reason for this and it’s shown perfectly in the movie. Will goes through the different time zones from the “ghetto” to the “rich” to give viewers a chance to see what Marx is talking about. Much like Marx, Will was determined to do what was right and give to the lower class. Marx would probably be very shocked to see a film like this today, but all in all I think he’d be proud to see how far his philosophy has come.

    I find that a big weakness in the movie was the time zones. It is a very interesting concept but it just didn’t fit correctly. Almost like a puzzle piece that has the exact colors but just doesn’t fit with the others. The amount of time that it took to get to the different time zones was just unrealistic! It could be a way to keep the poor from getting to the rich, but the poor faced the challenge of just getting a few more hours at most on their clocks each day, therefore it was completely unnecessary for time zones to cost years. Parts like these were a little over exaggerated and it made the movie a little less enjoyable just because it was impractical.

    Overall In Time was a good movie and it gave my sister and I something to do when she got home from college. It was definitely philosophical and just a cool experience; to see a movie in theaters that actually relates to something in school. Thanks for the opportunity Mr. Wickersham!

  8. 1. The basic concept of this society is very Darwinian in nature: survival of the fittest. Rather than being a penniless beggar living on the street, one simply dies when he runs out of money, or time, in this case. This system promotes people to fulfill their potential and earn as much time as then can—the more time you earn, the nicer the district you get to live in. This leads me into my next philosophic connection (which seems to be a popular choice among the class, might I add) of Karl Marx. Karl Marx believed that the bourgeoisie upper-class didn’t deserve to reap all of the benefits of the lower-class’s hard work; he believed that everyone deserved a fair cut of the profit (see: communism). In this movie, Will’s biggest goal was to bring the money down through all of the districts and allow everyone to live equal, fair lives. Will fought against such blatant labeling of “rich” and “poor”, and he fought against such blatant divisions among the various classes.
    2. I enjoyed the movie a great deal, I must say, but I found myself questioning some of the small details. Within the first ten minutes, I noticed that, for a society run on time, everyone was moving pretty slowly. You would think that in a society where people are strapped for time, they would use the little time that they do have as efficiently and wisely as they can. Instead I saw a lot of people walking slowly, and ultimately, wasting time. Outside of the actual movie itself and the characters within it, I have some issues with the concept on which this world is built on—in a world where the poor die instantly, I feel like peoples’ potential is heavily sacrificed. I read an article the other day about people who went from rags to riches, like the creator of RadioOne, and it just kind of bothers me that in this world, people aren’t allowed to mess up. I strongly believe that in order for any society to prosper, it first needs to take a couple of hits—not everyone is successful from day one. Then again, I guess I’m just arguing the same thing that Will was fighting for… Anyways, outside of my rant, I didn’t see any plot holes or major inconsistencies. It was an enjoyable film.

  9. Amber Williams
    Question #1
    I think the philosopher that can be best connected to the movie "In Time" would be Karl Marx. The main character Will Salas, had some similar beliefs as Karl Marx. They both believed that society should be equal. In the movie, the people were divided in time zones. There were the rich or the poor. There was no time zone that both the rich and the poor could share, and it took a whole year off your clock to even get to the wealthy time zone. Both, Will and Marx thought that the poor were overworked and not paid enough for their work. They also believed that the wealthy didn't do enough for their money, they had people working for them and basically doing all their work. In the book and in the movie, the upper class did not try to help out the lower class. In the Marx chapter there were examples of this as well as in the movie.
    Question #2
    The movie "In Time" was a great me. I enjoyed it a lot. I think a weakness in the movie was the government. How do they not give the poor any assistance? They were just letting people die. In the real world we have bridge cards, ADC, and in some states welfare. However, in the movie there was no type of help for the poor. It was like you had to stay poor forever, or at least till you ran out of time. Also through the whole movie, you did not see anybody in school. Did these people get an education? In the real world if you have an education you could get a higher paying job but in the movie there wasn't a way you could get out of this time zone and make more money.

  10. Ryan Williams
    3rd Hour

    I think the class/time system in In Time can be related to Marx and his view of a capitalist system. The economic system in the movie was exactly the opposite of what Marx thought a capitalist system should be. In the movie people in the lower time zones worked long, hard hours just to be able to live (similar to the factory workers in Marx’s time), while people in the higher time zones lived off of the workers’ hard labor (similar to the factory owners during the Industrial Revolution). Marx also thought these workers were alienated from their product and surroundings, and also had no fulfillment in their work. This was also true in the movie, Will and his fellow time zone mates didn’t enjoy working at all; work was something they had to do in order to live not something they voluntarily choose to do. It also felt like the workers weren’t really connected to the product they made or their surroundings, Will made a product (time cards/holders) he probably never used and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t content with where he was living. In Marx’s ideal economic system the worker, like Will, would be in control of the profit, which is kind of like what happened at the end of the movie when Will and Sylvia gave millions years back to the people in the lower time zones.
    A flaw I saw in the movie was that it never explained how people ended up not aging past 25. The whole movie revolved around people aging until 25 and then having a certain amount of time left to live (based on the amount of time they earned/had), so I think it would have made so much more sense to explain how mankind got into this predicament. I’m curious of why this happened and who decided that on age 25. I personally have no idea of why someone would want this to happen to them, I can see someone wanting to be a kid for the rest of your life because of the fact that you have basically no “real” responsibilities and your parents provide everything for you, but I don’t understand why someone would want to be 25 for the rest of their life I probably don’t understand because I haven’t reached that age yet.

  11. 1) For the philosopher I would like to connect would be Thomas Malthus. The rich peoples' reasoning for staying rich while others suffer is similar to Thomas's philosophy. He thinks that humans shouldn't help others because it was about natural selection and if everyone kept on saving people, making medicine, and providing food for the poor, the world would eventually run out of resources and we would all be dead. This goes hand in hand with letting the "fittest" survive and providing a defense for letting other people have to suffer.

    2) One of the main points Will/In Time was trying to make was that no one should die for anyone to become immortal. But Will did have a little habit of killing people. I mean he kinda went around doing awesome stunts with his gun and shooting a whole bunch of people. It just seemed like the movie was downplaying doing things by any means necessary by saying that the whole concept of only the "fittest survive" is stupid, but Will's philosophy could have been "only the people not in the way of my gun survive". It just seemed a little hypocritical to me.


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