Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Starring Karra Elejalde (Héctor), Candela Fernández (Clara), Bárbara Goenaga (La Chica en el Bosque) and Nacho Vigalondo (El Joven)
Héctor returns home from a shopping trip, spilling items out across the driveway when the back of his car opens. His wife Clara is in the garden. He goes inside and tries to sleep, but is restless. When the telephone ring and he answers there is just silence. He dials call back and is put through to a restricted service, where he begins to leave a message but drops the receiver half way through. It spills under a piece of furniture. Sitting out in a deckchair in the garden, he uses a pair of binoculars to scan the countryside and forest beyond. He spots a young woman, whose face is shielded from him. She takes off her top and is naked underneath. Clara takes the car to drive into the local town to buy more supplies. Héctor can no longer see the woman and heads out on foot to investigate. He is about to enter into a terrifying chain of events, involving time travel and two other versions of himself.
‘Timecrimes’ (or ‘Los cronocrímenes’, to give the film its original Spanish title) was the third film in the 6-Shooter Film Series produced by Magnet Releasing, a division of Magnolia Pictures. Also included in the six films is the highly acclaimed multi-award winning Swedish vampire film ‘Let the Right One In’ (Låt den rätte komma in’). ‘Timecrimes’ was first screened in Spain at the Sitges Film Festival in October 2007 and was shown at many other film festivals in Europe, the USA and Mexico, before receiving a theatrical release in Britain in February 2009.
The film might vaguely be compared to ‘Donnie Darko’, because like that film it deals with the paradox of time travel and creates an increasingly surreal scenario. As the film progresses we discover that Héctor is constantly influencing his own past actions and as he learns more about the consequences of those actions he attempts to change them, but in doing so the consequences become bigger and more profound. Ultimately, there is no beginning and no end, no linear movement of time from a start point to an end point, just a perpetual loop that goes round and round. The film is nicely constructed, so that the viewer becomes increasingly wrapped up in the conundrum, although the premise is somewhat illogical and it is best not to think too hard about it. Equally, it would probably justify repeat viewings by anyone particularly taken with the film and its premise, something that is likely to happen anyway. This is a film that has “cult favourite” written all over it – although the language barrier might put off some American viewers, where its most obvious audience would seem to reside.
There are just four characters featured in ‘Timecrimes’ and the actors include its writer and director Nacho Vigalondo. This was his first full length feature.
The film has an 87% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 61 reviews. There are apparently plans for an American remake.
Review posted 5 July 2009