“Is it stealing if it’s already been stolen?” 28-year-old Will Salas (played by Justin Timberlake) asks in the recently-released sci-fi thriller “In Time,” directed by Andrew Niccol. The film, which also stars Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy, asks this question repeatedly, turning an intriguing and original premise into a glorified Bonnie and Clyde storyline.

“In Time” takes place in 2161, in a dystopian world where time is literally money; it is both currency and the number of hours one has left on the earth. The poor live in constant fear of running out of time, while the rich hoard their time, sometimes living for centuries. If a person has enough time, he or she can live forever.

Enter Salas, a poor man in the ghetto who is thrown into the world of the rich after a man gives him over a century of time in which to live. With the instructions to “not waste my time,” Salas, along with Silvia Weis (Seyfried) begins a two-hour-long quest to bring down the time-as-money system and help the oppressed poor people.

The movie’s interesting plot idea really pulls watchers in, but it seems that it relies a little too heavily on that premise. The filmmaking is sometimes choppy, and pauses between dialogue are too long at times. Also, while the film has a strong start and finish, the middle drags on with several awkward love scenes between Timberlake and Seyfried. Their chemistry does not jump out at the viewer, and at times feels very fake.

To his credit, Timberlake really does a good job in this movie. His acting is effective at creating a character who watchers want to see succeed; he is the hero who is trying to bring justice to a land of unjust actions. He seems to be successfully making the transition into more serious roles.

Seyfried is not very compelling in this role, however. Her acting is average, and Silvia comes off as a “poor little rich girl” with no real character depth. The movie might have been just as good without her character in it at all.

But although “In Time” depends a lot on the idea surrounding it, that idea is very captivating. Fans of movies such as “Inception” and “The Matrix” will find this movie interesting, if not very well done. It incorporates some interesting science fiction concepts, has a cool, retro-futuristic setting and examines compelling moral questions.

The movie also makes a strong political statement, especially in light of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Salas is essentially fighting against the supremely rich, the people who control the stock market, and those who support the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Although the world is fictional, a lot of parallels can be drawn between its futuristic setting and modern American society. In 2161, people on the bottom are continually being forced lower while those at the top keep moving up. Watchers who side with the recent protesters will find a healthy amount of support from “In Time.”

While the concepts and Timberlake make this an entertaining and thought-provoking film, “In Time” also seems to leave something to be desired. It is riddled with Robin Hood-esque ideas (steal from the rich to give to the poor) and plot clichés.

However, fans of dystopian plot lines that offer questions on morality will probably walk away at least somewhat satisfied, if not completely fulfilled, by the movie’s interesting thesis on the effects of a time-centered society: If you could live forever, would you really want to?

Two and a half stars out of four.