Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) earns barely enough to get to tomorrow. That's a far cry from the man he saves one day at a bar. As a reward, the man gives Will a century of time.
Such a large transfer of time disrupts the system, and the police unit, known as Timekeepers, led by Raymond (Cillian Murphy), begins to investigate. Will is branded a murderer, and in a tight spot, he kidnaps Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of wealthy time lender Philippe (Vincent Kartheiser), in order to escape. Soon the pair develop a romantic bond, as they attempt to change the system and save the poor from clocking out.
It may sound ludicrous, but director and writer Andrew Niccol has created a believable world, aided hugely by clever use of time references - a cup of coffee costs five minutes, a bus ride costs one hour - time-stealing thugs called Minutemen and the abovementioned Timekeepers.
Each minute is vital to an individual's hold on life. You'll watch each character's digitised timer with trepidation. Losing track of one's time, in this world, is the difference between death or labouring on for another day.