Timecrimes - An Ingenious Time Travel Thriller

                      If we are offered, it's a safe bet that not a single one of us would turn down the possibility of going back in time, especially to right a wrong that may have been committed. Such a concept is the foundation for many a piece of questioning entertainments in Hollywood. Most of these corrections aren't earth shattering, though quite a few end up changing things in ways unexpected and irreversible.

                       But, what would happen if a film wants to bring the whole cosmic idea down to a realistic level. The result is a crackling thriller. Welcome to "Timecrimes," a spanish inverted horror-thriller joke, where you're never entirely sure whether what's happening to the poor protagonist, Hector. With minimal effects and maximum wit, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo spends precious time on the far-fetched "science" of time travel and more on its consequences.

       Relaxing after a hard day in town, Hector (Karra Elejalde) is toying with his binoculars in the yard of his new country home when he spies a young woman taking off her top. He may be married but he's still curious, so he goes off to investigate. He finds the woman, unconscious and propped against a boulder. Within seconds, Hector is stabbed with scissors in his right arm by a man whose face is wrapped in pink bandages. Her presumable killer has now decided to chase Hector.

              From there, he stumbles into this research lab where he accidentally gets mixed up in a series of time-travel mishaps that lead to misunderstandings, injuries, death and a world with more than one Hector in it.  The plot might sound like a formula for a run-of-the-mill thriller. But Vigalondo keeps the surprises coming and the suspense mounting. Suffice it to say that as the minutes tick away, we see explanations for small oddities in the opening sequence, and much more.

               Elejalde is terrific as a crumpled man. With grim determination, he decides to sort it out, remaining one step ahead of the audience in the process. By keeping the cast down to a bare minimum (four) and repeating the important parts of each new revision in the story, Timecrimes stays centered.Vigalondo ramps up the suspense and violence as we try to keep up with Hector, and earlier and later versions of himself. 
              The key here is to keep things moving without letting the logical (or illogical) complications weigh down the action, and Vigalondo does this well. His budget is modest, but that doesn't stop him from creating an atmosphere of apprehension. To the script's credit, the nonsense never feels like nonsense. Pacing is helter-skelter, successfully enveloping the viewer in its deranged logic. 
              Dialogue becomes increasingly scarce, to an extent that pic could work as a silent. Brief moments of black humor also raise the drama. Watching “Timecrimes” is like fumbling for bearings in a pitch-black haunted house. Meticulous plotting, breathless pacing, paradoxes in abundance, and some surprisingly human dilemmas, all make this low-budget sci-fi thriller well worth watching.


Aditya Agarwal said...

Brilliant Movie. Totally agree with your review.

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Bhavana said...

neither seen it nor heard of it..but now am curious!