In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage.

In 2169, people are genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthday. Everyone has a timer on their forearm that shows their remaining time, when it reaches zero the person “times out” and dies instantly. Time has become the universal currency, transferred directly between people or stored in capsules. The country is divided into areas called Time Zones; Dayton is the poorest, a ghetto where people rarely have over 24 hours on their clocks. The richest area is New Greenwich, where people are wealthy enough to be effectively immortal.

Will Salas is a factory worker who lives in Dayton with his mother Rachel. One night, he rescues a drunken man named Henry Hamilton from time thieves Fortis and his gang the Minutemen. While hiding, Hamilton reveals to Will that the people of New Greenwich hoard most of the time while constantly increasing prices to keep poorer people dying. The following day, he transfers all but five minutes of his time to a sleeping Will before deliberately timing out and dying. Raymond Leon, the leader of the police-like Timekeepers, assumes that Will killed Hamilton and pursues him.

Will visits his friend Borel, who warns him against having so much time in Dayton. He gives Borel ten years, one for each year of their friendship. Will then sets off to meet his mother, intending to take her with him to New Greenwich. His mother runs short of time and can’t afford bus fare, she is forced to run to meet Will but times out and dies in his arms. Heartbroken and angry, Will vows to avenge his mother’s death by taking the people of New Greenwich for everything they have.

Arriving in New Greenwich, Will meets time-loaning businessman Philippe Weis and his daughter Sylvia at a casino. While playing poker, Will wins over a millennium while nearly timing himself out. He catches Sylvia’s eye and she invites him to a party. Will is confronted at the party by Timekeeper Leon and arrested. Leon confiscates all but two hours of Will’s time, disbelieving that Will didn’t kill Hamilton.

Will escapes and takes Sylvia to Dayton as a hostage, but Fortis’ gang ambushes and robs them, leaving them with 30 minutes each. Will attempts to get some time back from Borel, but his wife Greta tearfully explains that he has drunk himself to death. They manage to get a day each by selling Sylvia’s earrings at a pawn shop. Will then calls Weis to demand a 1,000-year ransom to be paid to the people in Dayton in exchange for Sylvia’s safe return. Weis refuses and Will releases Sylvia just as Timekeeper Leon finds Will. Sylvia shoots Leon in the arm and Will gives him enough time to survive until the other Timekeepers arrive. Will and Sylvia steal Leon’s car and use it to pull over a New Greenwich resident, whom they rob of her time.

Will and Sylvia rob Weis’ time banks, giving the time capsules to the needy. They soon realize they can’t significantly change anything, as prices are raised faster to compensate for the extra time. Fortis’ gang ambushes them intending to collect the reward for their capture, but Will kills Fortis and his gang. Will and Sylvia then decide to rob Weis’ vault of a one-million year capsule. Leon chases them back to Dayton but fails to stop them from distributing the stolen time; Leon times out, having neglected to collect his day’s salary. Will and Sylvia nearly time out themselves but survive by taking Leon’s salary.

TV reports show factories in Dayton shutting down as everyone has enough time and abandons their jobs. Having seen the consequences of his obsession with the pair, Leon’s colleague Jaeger orders the Timekeepers to return home. Will and Sylvia progress to larger banks, still trying to crash the system.

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