In Time

Musical Score By: Craig Armstrong

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Imagine a world in which you are virtually guaranteed to live up to twenty-five years of age.  Imagine a world that has become so overpopulated that it has to set rules as to how long people can live.  Imagine you live in the ghetto and must work every day of your life to earn precious hours of time, only to have to give some of this time away just to pay for daily necessities.  This is the world in which Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives.  After his mother’s death, Will vows to take down an unfair system which forces the poor to beg, borrow and steal for more time while the rich consume time like it is water and live for decades longer than most.

            The musical score of In Time was created by Scottish composer Craig Armstrong.  Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Armstrong trained under Cornelius Cardew and Malcolm MacDonald.  Returning to Glasgow, he became an in-house composer at the Tron Theatre.  By the mid-1990s, Armstrong had begun composing for both Hollywood and independent films, creating musical score for movies such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Love Actually, Ray, World Trade Center and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

            The musical score of In Time is an intense orchestral experience.  Imagine the emotions one must experience as they labor to earn just a few more hours added to their lives - the anxiety, sadness, anguish and anger,  The listener experiences all of these emotions and more through the musical compositions Craig Armstrong created for this film.  And in the mist of all of this emotion is the distinct feeling that time is running out. 

            The music is soft with subtle nuances in the beginning and consists mostly of strings and pianos.  As the movie progresses, the music changes, adding a touch of darkness to offset the main character’s anger at the time system.  The music also moves a bit faster and has a more electronic edge as Salas moves forward with his plan to change the system, all the while being hunted down for a murder he never committed.

            The In Time Soundtrack contains a captivating musical score.  Even before I knew the entire theme of the film, I could tell that this was a film filled with emotional ups and downs and a side of action and intensity.  Now that I have a better idea of what happens in the film, I can honestly say that Craig Armstrong has perfectly captured what this film is about.  I enjoyed Armstrong’s ability to capture the nuances of emotion and translate through his music.  I also found it interesting that the soundtrack includes three variations of the Main Theme: regular, choral and orchestral.  I found the choral theme to be the most striking.

            Kudos to Craig Armstrong for effectively telling the story of In Time through music.  Without knowing what the film was about, I was captivated by the intensity and beauty of the music and believe that any music aficionado would be happy to add this soundtrack to their music collection.


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