28-year-old factory worker Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives with his mother Rachel Salas (Olivia Wilde) in the ghettos. One day, Will saves rich 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from suffering a time-robbery assault in a bar where he flaunts his time around buying people drinks.Hamilton is attacked by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), the elderlyBritish mobster boss of a middle-aged gang called the Minutemen. Will leads Hamilton to safety, where Hamilton says to Will, "For few to be immortal, many must die", as there is essentially enough time for everyone to live a full life, but it is stockpiled for the rich to become immortal. An upset Will argues that no one should die beforetheir time naturally ends so that others may live, upon which Hamilton describes how he no longer even desires life, in saying "[y]our mind can be spent, even if your body is not. We want to die. We need to."
Later that night, Hamilton transfers 116 years to the sleeping Will, keeping only five minutes for himself, which he uses to go and sit on a ledge on a bridge. As his time expires, Hamiltonfalls into the river below. Will arrives too late to save him, realizes he has been filmed by a nearby surveillance camera, and flees the area. Resident police force, the Timekeepers, have various theories as to his death. A young timekeeper, Timekeeper Jaeger (Collins Pennie), correctly assumes Hamilton had "timed out", a.k.a. killed himself, but a middle-aged veteran Timekeeper, Raymond Leon(Cillian Murphy), is convinced he was murdered by a Dayton resident.
Will visits his friend, Borel (Johnny Galecki), and gives him 10 years of time, one year for each year of their friendship. Will waits for his mother at a bus station, only to discover that she didn't have enough time to pay for her usual bus ride after the price suddenly increased. He rushes down the street to find her. They encountereach other on foot, and as she runs and leaps into his arms, her time expires before her son can help her and she dies in his arms. Remembering what Hamilton told him about the inequity of the time system, Will decides to seek revenge. He leaves for New Greenwich, with over a century on his clock. Upon arrival, he enters a casino, where he meets an old millionaire, time-loaning businessmanPhilippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) and his daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Sylvia becomes interested in Will after a tense gambling table showdown where Will beats her father in poker with only one second to spare on his clock, winning 1,100 years in the process. She invites Will to a party at her father's mansion.
At the mansion, Will is apprehended by Leon, who confiscates all of his time, sparetwo hours. Will then escapes taking Sylvia hostage. Returning to the ghetto with her, he drives into an ambush of Fortis, who, in disappointment to find that the unconscious Will was in possession of Hamilton's time but lost it, steals most of Sylvia's, only failing to take the last half hour as the approach of the Timekeepers forces him to leave the scene. Will returns to consciousness and gives...