Timecrimes happens in just the span of a nightfall. Or rather, in three.
Héctor (Karra Elejalde), is a middle-aged man who has just moved to a big country house with his wife Clara (Candela Fernandez) in rural Spain. While his wife decides to go out for some groceries, Hector kills time using his binoculars to look around. In the near forest, Héctor discovers a beautiful lonely girl, getting naked. Completely captivated by the vision, Hector can't resist the temptation to investigate further.
His curiosity will lead him to what appears to be an ambush. Attacked by a strange man with pink bands and a pair of scissors, Héctor flees, seeking refuge in a strange, nearby scientific facility, In there, he meets a man (Nacho Vigalondo) who promises to hide him from the threat on a strange platform.
But when Héctor leaves that platform, he realizes that he has traveled to the past, about an hour. The sun is back and is just about to be nightfall again.
From then on, what director Nacho Vigalondo (an acclaimed Oscar winner for his wonderful short 7:35 in the Morning) builds is a wonderful and engaging time loop full of details and interesting twists.
Everything with just four actors, two locations, a minimum budget and an easiness to distill complexity so great that I'm sure Shane Carruth (Primer) would surely envy.
Timecrimes is undoubtedly one of the best time travel movies ever made. Vigalondo does a study on the immovable fate, following the "original" Hector's point of view and his progressive immersion to the voracious time.
One of the most striking features of Timecrimes is the way Vigalondo anchors humanity and its ego to the present. Hector knows perfectly well that the Hectors he is seeing are simply himself in different parts of the temporal loop, but he cannot help identifying them as "others" and even assigning numbers to differentiate himself from them.
Hector even goes to the illogical delusion of distrusting them, even knowing that they are all just himself at another time point.
Each "version" of Hector conceives time travel differently, changing his point of view as he experiences them. "Hector 1" is a total ignorant who doesn't even know that time travel exists. "Hector 2," completely blinded by the revelation, tries desperately (practically terrified) to emulate previous actions in order to keep the chain of events intact.
"Hector 3", more confident, has an ego displayed when he is convinced, against all logic, that he can change the past. Of course, he will end up resigned, letting fate reach him hopelessly.
What's Your Rating For Timecrimes?
Timecrimes is not just a wonderful sci-fi thriller. Its not-so-subtle symbolism makes it clear that this is also an allegory about the difficulties of infidelity in a monogamous middle-aged relationship.
The "seduction" of the young woman, the man who progressively complicates his life in an effort to maintain his normality, the efforts to "rejuvenate" the couple and then the too-little-too-late amends, wanting to go back in time to fix everything.
Unlike many time-travel films, Timecrimes is enormously satisfying in its treatment of the immovable future. All pieces of the puzzle fall into place in a very well argued way and with very simple items to track them later.
Because, of course, this is one of those movies that almost requires an instant rewatch. The result will be two very different experiences, both equally entertaining.
Release Year: 2007
Director(s): Nacho Vigalondo
Actors: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, a.o.
© 2019 Sam Shepards