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Timecrimes (DVD)

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Genre: Crime & Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Nacho Vigalondo / Actors: Juan Incciarte, Barbara Goenaga, Candela Fernandez, Karra Elejalde ... / DVD released 2009-05-04 at Optimum Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      08.08.2010 12:09
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      Smart must see foreign film

      92 MINUTES
      Cert- R
      Spanish (subtitles)
      Suited to 16+
      -----------------

      If you think the film Inception is complicated then try this one for size, a time flipping, paradox looping, chaos inducing drama/comedy from Spain sure to leave most in a tizzy. You genuinely can't go wrong with time travel films and when you make quite a clever one that has no other ulterior motive other than to be smart and entertaining you cant help being engrossed. All too often time travel and alternate universe movies get a huge budget thrown at them and they become more about selling spin off products like video games and merchandise than being beautiful and theoretical symphonies of time travel they can be.

      Although this is sub-titled it's not heavy on dialect and the key is concentration to enjoy it, the delicate intertwining plot meaning it gets complicated near the end and there's certainly no Hollywood nonsense of the actors explaining what's going on by talking cheesy dialogue for the idiots on the other side of the lens to catch up. This reminds me a lot of Primer, a similar low budget experiment goes wrong low budget seeing normal people messing with quantum mechanics, both enthralling in thier own way. What this is not is idiot popcorn film. You need Time Cop for that.

      -The Cast-

      Karra Elejalde ... Héctor
      Candela Fernández ... Clara
      Bárbara Goenaga ... La Chica en el Bosque
      Nacho Vigalondo ... El Joven
      Juan Inciarte ... Héctor Ocasional (as Ion Inciarte)

      -The Plot-

      Hector (Karra Elejalde), a rather unattractive middle aged man, drives home to his affluent villa in the Spanish countryside to his dotting and attractive wife Clara (Candela Fernandez), we presume the lifestyle why she married him, Hector soon spilling the shopping all the way up the driveway so not the brightest chap it seems, the couple recently moving into the house so lots to do. After taking a phone call where the other end hangs up on him he relaxes in his deckchair and leaves the wife to cook the evening meal, a childless couple happy in their ways. Looking through his binoculars he scans the horizon of his new rural surroundings to see what's what.

      He spies a distant CCTV camera tower and, much to his delight, a beautiful young woman taking off her clothes. He is soon off into the woods to check it out, where he finds the girl naked and seemingly unconscious. But curiosity turns to pain when he is stabbed in the arm with some scissors by a man with a blooded bandage wrapped around his face, a chase ensuing where Hector seeks refuge in a house playing loud music. He hides deep in the house where he finds a science lab, and also a walkie-talkie to call help on, where another man (Nacho Vigalondo) tells Hector to run for his life up the hill to his other science facility where he will be safer. But it is here his life takes a turn for the surreal when the man tells him to hide in a tank full off an odd looking liquid, not telling him it's a time machine, which saps Hector back one hour, escaping the blooded man. Hector returns home with the scientist from the lab to discover there are two Hectors, one sitting on a deck chair looking at the woods with binoculars. Hector, being a simple man, demands the man from the lab fixes his unfortunate time paradox by letting Hector number two climb back into the time machine, not a wise idea. But he does and so unleashes yet more paradoxes as the whole thing gets out of control, a space-time continuum that may not be able to be fixed as his previous actions become part of his immediate future.

      -The Conclusion-

      This film is original and complex yet delightfully simple, its overwhelming appeal. The director, Nacho Vigalondo, who acts in the film, of course, plays with you all the way through and you love him for it as comedy slowly turns to something far more tragic and foreboding. Admittedly when you stand back and look at the plot it does not bare closes inspection, as, indeed do most time travel movies. How come Bruce Willis didn't tell himself what has been going on when he receives the phone call at the airport in Twelve Monkeys? And why didn't M J Fox and Marty McFly google himself in Back to the Future 2 to see how he got there? But potholes aside you will quickly be hooked by this as the surprising twists hiss at you like a snake in the grass as the narrative develops its obfuscations and mysteries. Even if you do twig early on who is who there's more intrigue to come and the ends tied as neat as they possibly could be in a time travel movie.

      One imperfection here is the film feels like it has been edited to make it a more complex to appeal to you and me, a thinking audience, meaning no clarity with the ending as there's no real logical beginning to Hectors plight. There are clues in the film that don't fit the presented plot, like a photo on a wall in a lab and that apparent ambiguous ending, which is left to you to decide the incumbents fete. It would be interesting to hear an audio commentary or see some extra features on this to see if it is the case that the film was chainsawed down into something else.
      Its great stuff though and very cleverly made, the first reveal like a spinnaker being thrown up as the yacht goes around the buoy and a whole new tack to the movie and another refreshing breeze to proceedings.

      -Ratings-
      -------------------------------------------
      Imdb.com - 7.2/10 (6,458 votes)
      Rottentomatos.com - 88% approval
      Metacritic.com - 68% approval
      --------------------------------------

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        14.07.2010 11:45
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        One man finds himself caugfht in a deadly spiral of his own creation!

        Timecrimes is a bizarre Spanish sci-fi film, only a few years old, that was shown recently on Film Four very late at night. Being a big fan of foreign cinema, I find foreign language films to be more stylish, clever and intelligent on the whole than anything Hollywood has to offer, and knowing that I had not seen or even heard of this before, I decided to give it a go. Am I glad I did! Because Timecrimes follows the kind of plot-line made famous by films such as Momento or A Tale Of Two Sisters that twists and turns and keeps you hooked right up until the very end!

        Watching this, the viewer is very much left with the impression that they are completing a jigsaw. At first, they think they see how everything is going to turn out but as more pieces enter the puzzle, you are left with a very different end result!

        Hector has just moved in to a new house and is relaxing in his back garden with some binoculars when he spies a woman in the woods opposite getting undressed. When his wife goes into town to fetch some dinner, he decides to go over and investigate but is alarmed when he discovers the body of the girl and realises she has been killed and very likely sexually abused! (Her underwear has been removed!)

        Seconds later, Hector is jumped upon by a man wrapped in pink bandages and chased through the woods by this mysterious attacker. In a scene reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth, the pair play a surreal game of hide and seek, or peekaboo, before Hector finally flees to a neighbouring building in a desperate bid to seek refuge. Unfortunately, the house appears to be empty but a voice on a walkie-talkie instructs him to head up the garden to a nearby silo where someone is working. Chased by his assailant, Hector follows instructions and goes to join the owner of the voice on the walkie-talkie. Inside the silo is a device that can only be described as a time machine and when Hector, under encouragement from the silo's sole inhabitant, hides inside, he is thrown back to a point in time earlier in his day! Emerging into bright sunshine, he quickly realises that unless he wants to create a paradox, he needs to ensure that everything happens the way it did before and that nothing is changed. And that is when it all becomes complicated......

        Many have compared this to the low budget style of films like Primer but where that film was just confusing, this at least makes a kind of sense that you can pretty much follow. It has a hidden sub-text about how our actions all have consequences and how sometimes these consequences are all unavoidable. It also has much to say about the fact that everything is already predetermined and that there is very little free choice despite how it might appear to us caught in the moment!

        The ending is a little predictable and a bit easy to spot but overall, this is a highly accomplished movie with a very minimal cast! It is cleverly concieved, smartly executed and definetly something I would watch again! Is it odd? Yes! Does it have subtitles? Yes! Did I understand it? Also Yes.

        This is a film that stands out for originality and for its ingeunity and is an excellent example of what foreign language films have to offer! Bored of the usual Hollywood fare? Check this out instead!

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          09.07.2010 11:28
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          The first Spanish sci-fi film I've seen, well made and captured my interest.

          I first heard about this film by reading a review here on dooyoo, and I liked the sound of it a lot so I added it to my DVD rental list straight away. Luckily, I actually noticed they were showing it on Film4 last night so I got to watch it sooner than if I had waited for the DVD to be sent. It's available to purchase on Amazon at £4.99, however I think that one viewing was enough for me and it's not one that I will be adding to my permanent DVD collection.

          ~~~DETAILS~~~
          Region 2 1-disc DVD
          Released: 2007 (DVD 2009)
          Running time: 1 hour 28 minutes
          Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
          Starring: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernandez, Barbara Goenaga, Juan Inciarte, Nacho Vigalondo
          Tagline: Bad things happen all the time.

          ~~~THE BACK OF THE BOX BLURB~~~
          A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

          ~~MY THOUGHTS~~~
          The story begins very slowly, as you watch a couple, Hector and Clara, trying to get things straight as they have just moved into their new home. The plot does not progress very far for the first 20-30 minutes, and you have to just stick with it and watch the mundane, ordinary beginnings so that you can piece together the details as you re-live the story through the different perspective after the time travel element kicks in.

          Clara heads out to get some food for dinner and Hector is left in the garden surveying the woodland area surrounding his home. Through a pair of binoculars he spots a woman amongst the trees, and decides to go and investigate. This is where things start to take a weird turn, as Hector is suddenly confronted by a masked attacker, and gets stabbed in the arm with a pair of scissors. Desperate and confused, Hector runs to escape this monstrous figure and ends up reaching an abandoned house, in which he finds a walkie talkie and ends up being guided to what he thinks is safety.

          After this we get to see the time machine, in all its understated glory, and the story starts to be re-told from a different viewpoint, as Hector travels back in time by approximately 30-40 minutes. Is this enough time to make a change, or is this going to create further problems?

          The actors were convincing in their plain-ness. These are supposed to be ordinary people caught up in something they don't quite understand. Understated and simply believable performances. Throughout the film you only really see four characters, Hector, his wife Clara, the girl in the woods, and the man in control of the time machine. Despite this limited range of characters it is not at all boring, and we are really centred on following Hector and concern for how he is going to get himself out of this mess that he has unintentionally found himself wrapped up in.

          There are a couple of frightening moments early on in the film, but I found that as more of the story was revealed this took away the scary element of the unknown, and made it easier to watch without fear of jumpy bits! It was surprisingly easy to watch for a science fiction movie, as often time travel can become over-complicated due to the various factors that have to be considered and can end up causing problems in continuity. It helps if you have a little background knowledge about theories on time travel, such as the danger of interacting with a duplicate version of yourself if you go back in time, the possibility of split identities as the structure of time is fragmented, and how changes made by someone travelling back in time can then alter the course of the original future.

          The visuals are very basic and there are absolutely no fancy special effects whatsoever, this is all about the story and even the time machine looks like a pretty regular piece of machinery. Atmosphere is set by good use of lighting and keeping the overall colour neutral with bursts of accent colour to pick out important details.

          The film is Spanish and subtitled with the English translation. Don't let this put you off as it is easy to follow, with mainly short bursts of dialogue, and no narrative or lengthy speeches. The tone is conversational and I managed to understand it all even watching at 1am!

          Summary: I thought this was a reasonably good science fiction film, with an interesting story. I was really rooting for Hector and it was compelling to see his character reaching a state of desperation and going to extreme lengths to save his own future. The end was a bit abrupt, but it made sense and allowed the film to reach a sensible conclusion. I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and interest to watch a foreign science fiction film, it is very different to the usual Hollywood time travellers and a well made film.

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            02.06.2010 13:10
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            decent spanish sci-fi

            ----------Plot------------

            Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes) is a Spanish science fiction film released a couple of years ago. I'm a sucker for time travel films and sci-fi in general and thought I would give this intriguing film a bit of a go.

            Hector has just bought himself a new house with his wife and they are currently in the process of unpacking. One evening Hector spies something strange with his binoculars - a naked girl in the woods. Hector goes off to investigate and gets stabbed by a strange man with a pink bandage covering his face. Hector runs away only to find himself at a strange laboratory where he gets into a time machine. Hector travels back in time one hour and suddenly realised he has a part in the strange things he has been seeing...

            -----Opinion-----

            Timecrimes was a decent slab of European sci-fi. I've never really bothered with foreign films in the past (unless they are dubbed - which this one was) - -I hate having to read subtitles! (you uncultured oaf adambrown400!) This film looked different and interesting, so I thought I would give it t a go.

            There was a point when I lost a bit of interest and that was when I realised when I would be seeing the same scene from a different angle and different time period. But I suppose if you really get into the film, then you will enjoy how the film pans out. It was unmistakably clever, but due to obvious budget constraints a more complex story could not be created.

            I liked the idea of an ordinary guy getting himself involved in time travel, in that respect it reminded me of a bit of a lost Red Dwarf episode. You can just see Lister in the part of the man caught up in an accidental time travel experiment!

            For the most part the film is a success and was very watchable. At just over ninety minutes the film also did not outstay its welcome providing a welcome break from my James Bond marathon at the moment. Even the slightly out of synch dubbing wasn't too irritating!

            ------In Conclusion--------

            I enjoyed Timecrimes. It was a clever and original sc-fi film that didn't get too bogged down in spaceships and time machines and just got on with telling a decent story. It became a little predictable towards the end, but director Nacho Vigalondo should be congratulated for turning out an impressive film with some clever ideas.

            The inevitable Hollywood remake is in development, but I suggest catching this one before that turgid rubbish turns up at your local multiplex.

            ---Main Cast---
            Karra Elejalde - Hector
            Candela Fernández - Clara
            Bárbara Goenaga - La Chica en el Bosque
            Nacho Vigalondo - El Joven

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              12.03.2010 00:05
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              Intelligent Spanish film dealing with Time Travel. Excellent!

              Timecrimes is a 2008 Spanish film which was released on DVD in May 2009. It has a running time of 88 minutes and is certificated 15 in the UK. Probably best categorised as a mystery/thriller the film deals with the complex matter of time travel and how the smallest of actions can have major consequences. This is my film only review of this title.

              Plot

              Hector is a normal middle aged man who is renovating his new home with his wife; they seem an average couple doing every day, average thing. Having won a bet with his wife over something trivial he is able to stay at the house relaxing in his garden whilst his wife leaves to pick up some food for their evening meal. Whilst casually looking through a pair of binoculars he sees an unexpected sight - a woman taking off her top. Intrigued, Hector moves positions to get another look but the woman has gone. Taking it upon himself to investigate further he ventures out of his garden and tries to find the woman, which he does, however she appears to be unconscious and when Hector tries to see if she is alright he is attacked by a bandaged figure who stabs him in the arm with a pair of scissors...

              Who attacked Hector? Why did the woman remove her top, and why is she now unconscious? Given the theme of the film I'm sure you will be able to work out who is behind all the strange occurrences, but more importantly How did these things happen and if given the chance can they be undone? Watch the film and find out for yourself!

              Opinion

              I've mentioned in previous reviews that I have always been fond of time-travel stories and paradoxes in general so after I had rented "Triangle" a 2009 American Film (which I have already reviewed here) this title was recommended to me by Lovefilm and researching on IMDB I figured it was my kind of film.

              I was right; it was my kind of film. Except this time the subject matter was intelligently dealt with and relied heavily on the acting rather than prolonged and protracted dialogue. Even though the film is in Spanish with English subtitles once the story picked up pace I can honestly say I never noticed the obvious language barrier, instead I was mesmerised by what was taking place in front of my eyes.

              Given the fact that this is a time travel story and there are repeating sections you don't feel as if you are watching the same thing over and over as the point of view of the story is that of the Hector you are following and not one of the later ones. References and situations that you don't understand when you first see them are explained as the film goes on and the things that happen do make sense in a twisted sort of way.

              The film had a low budget feel to it and there are no amazing special effects, to be honest though it didn't need anything too flashy or distracting, the important part of the film was making sure the plot made sense and even though there are moments that you wonder why on earth Hector didn't learn from his mistakes and correct them the film succeeded in delivering a well thought out plot with exceptional acting.

              Karra Elejalde as Hector is no Hollywood leading man, he is overweight, balding and looks like someone uncle but that works for this film, he needed to look 'normal' to sell the story as effectively as he does. He doesn't need to be sexy, handsome or young, he is caught up in something he never expected and as the film progresses he tries to undo things that he inadvertently did wrong.

              Whether he succeeds or not and if there is a 'happily-ever-after' ending was part of the films appeal for me, it didn't wrap things up nicely and tie all the loose ends instead it simply played out to the finish with a sort-of satisfying conclusion that was in keeping with the rest of the film.

              There are parts of the film that could be considered plot-holes, but for me it was certainly the best film of this genre that I have seen and one that definitely requires a repeat viewing to fully understand the story. On second viewing you pick up on things that you missed the first time around and 'get' why certain things are said or why an item is where it is. It isn't perfect by any means as films of this type never are, but if the subject matter is one that interests you then it is a film that should definitely appeal.

              For me 'Timecrimes' (or Los croncrimenes to give it its Spanish title) fully deserves 4/5 dooyoo stars and comes highly recommended. It can be bought from Amazon for £4.99 and for that price is an absolute steal, don't be put off with the film being subtitled; it doesn't matter as you will be too busy thinking about what is happening to worry about the language. It's one to watch!

              Thanks for reading my review.

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                26.10.2009 11:03
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                For those with a decent attention span

                I'd read good things about this a while back and finally got around to watching it on DVD yesterday.

                Written, directed and co-starring Nacho Vigalondo (as the lab guy), this 2007 film from Spain tells the story of Hector (Karra Elejalde) who, whilst relaxing in his garden, spots someone on a hill by his house. Upon surveying things through his binoculars he sees that it is a naked young woman. When he climbs the hill to see what is going on he is stabbed in the arm by a figure wrapped in bandages. He escapes to a nearby research facility and whilst hiding gets sent back in time an hour or so. This is when we find out the true identity of the masked figure....

                The above is a very brief outline of what is a very well written story. It is better to go into the story as blind as possible so that you can just go along with it without trying to second guess proceedings too much - I began thinking it was going to be a horror before it switched into a head-twisting time travel yarn. It raises some very interesting questions about causality (in essence, none of what follows would have happened had the lab assistant not done something as simple as turn the machine on in the first place). Even with these questions flying around it doesn't distract from a lean, tightly constructed thriller. There are a few niggles - Hector accepts and understand time travel and the need for his previous actions to be the same in order for the past to happen exactly the same very quickly. Also, the bandaged man keeps his bandages on for longer than necessary and could have avoided tradegy had he removed them sooner - although the film would have been much shorter as a result!

                The film has a grainy look to it and a shaky approach to the camerawork which aids the feeling of desperation and confusion Hector feels, it's only at the end when resolution is in someway achieved that we get a steady tracking shot.

                All the actors involved provide good performances, but here it is very much the story which dominates proceedings. A thoughtful, intelligent time travel story which, although I've only seen it once, I believe will hold up to repeat viewings. Highly recommended.

                Having just now checked the internet I've noticed there is an English-language remake due next year. It's a shame as the original is more than capable of entertaining.

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                21.10.2009 00:28
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                Smart and insane

                note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room

                Nacho Vigalondo's Timecrimes is a very clever time-travel based thriller that has been already copied with the recent film Triangle, but stands by itself as a true original. This Spanish film, due to its subtitled nature, is unlikely to gain the audience it deserves, but it's one of the more inventive and unique thrillers to hit our screens in a while.

                The film opens with Hector (Karra Elejalde) relaxing with a pair of binoculars, and soon enough, he's stabbed with a pair of scissors by a strange figure dressed in a pink hood and long jacket. Hector makes his escape to come across a walkie-talkie which tells him to enter a nearby science lab. Here he meets a man (the director himself Nacho Vigalondo), who tells him to get inside a strange contraption, and before he can object further, the lid is closed. When he emerges, it appears that he is an hour in the past, and has to live through this hour again, causing the circumstances to change drastically.

                This is a very clever time travel film that is somewhat predictable, but the conceit is still very smart so it's acceptable. The level of intensity is constant throughout, and for a first-time film, this really is quite an impressive feat that will hopefully signal more from director Vigalondo. There's a sufficient human element as the film explores the quandry the protagonist faces with regard to his wife, and it's also got a neat take on the sci-fi genre that doesn't have too many zany special effects thanks to budgetary constraints, but is still rather captivating.

                With a unique take on the follies of time travel, Timecrimes is a mostly successful Spanish film that presents a mind-bending plot, although by its sheer nature suffers slightly in its predictability.

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                  13.10.2009 22:24
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                  A nosy neighbour initiates a series of twists and turns in time, to perplexing and wonderful effect.

                  Starting off like Rear Window, taking a turn in the direction of Primer and ending up somewhere entirely of its own, Los Cronocrímenes (Timecrimes) is a low-budget film with wholly high-budget ambitions. Nacho Vigalondo's 2007 debut feature is a captivating thriller that takes on questions of predestination and paradox familiar to its time-tripping genre, but does so with style and intelligence that makes it stand out from the field.

                  Set amid the verdant woodland of Cantabria, Timecrimes follows two extraordinary hours in the life of Hector, who has just moved into a new house with his wife, Clara. Taking a break from packing, Hector is reclining in his garden with a pair of binoculars when he spots a distressed young woman undressing in the nearby woods. His curiosity piqued and his wife gone shopping, our protagonist heads off to investigate. Half an hour later, Hector is being pursued by a masked attacker (the fellow adorning the film's front cover) and seeks refuge in a silo attached to a nearby property.

                  So far, so conventionally madman-in-the-woods horror. Here, though, the film takes a turn for the much more intriguing.

                  A scientist working in the silo encourages Hector to hide in a vat where his pursuer 'will never think to look.' Fearing he has little choice but to follow, Hector allows his newfound ally to shut him in. When the vat is reopened moments later, he is disturbed to find that the pitch blackness outside the window has become daylight, and the scientist he just spoke to appears to have never seen him before. What's more, when he exits the building and casts his binoculars back in the direction of his house, Hector sees himself standing on his front porch, having a conversation with his wife he remembers from only an hour or so earlier.

                  This flicker in time is only the first strand of a twisting tale that manages to be at the same time a mind-boggling set of time-travelling conundrums and a tense, gripping thriller. If you care to ponder Timecrimes' complexities it can be nearly as confusing as the mind-boggling Primer, but unlike that film, you can still enjoy the movie without having to get your head fully around its temporal curiosities.

                  Hector (Karra Elejalde) is a well-chosen protagonist; as an overweight, balding man, he convinces as someone who has stumbled into a world of time-loops and contradictions with little idea of how to escape. As an unwilling, unwitting time-traveller, he equally has the necessary humanity to give the film's bittersweetly powerful ending its full effect. The director, Vigalondo, also impresses as the scientist whose role in affairs quickly begins to muddy.

                  This is certainly one of those films that benefits from a second viewing, although most of the key twists and plot points are laid out pretty clearly. Nonetheless, the way in which the film as a whole has been put together, the plot knitted out of overlapping "runs" through time, is extremely impressive. Initially insignificant actions and events seen the first time round suddenly acquire much greater significance viewed from another perspective, and it's entertaining putting the pieces together as Hector rushes around trying to make right his heavy footsteps in time.

                  There are plenty of time-travel films out there, and amongst them plenty of very good ones. Timecrimes, though, deserves to stand alongside the very best of the genre. Visually neat and atmospheric, tautly plotted and with just the right balance of mental gymnastics and action, its low budget only makes the above all the more impressive.

                  As an added bonus, there's relatively little language in the film; the vast majority follows Hector's meddling with time, needing little dialogue - so if you're not a fan of subtitles, there's every chance you'll still enjoy this. Needless to say, an American remake is on its way - chalked down for 2011, currently - and while it'll be interesting to see what they do with it, it's as unnecessary as other Spanish-American remakes (Abre los Ojos/Vanilla Sky; Rec/Quarantine). There really are no real faults with Timecrimes, and it's hard to imagine what is an outstanding, slickly-made film bring improved upon. Timecrimes/Los Cronocrímenes deserves to be seen; best do so before its good name is tainted.

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                    01.10.2009 16:22
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                    A great little sci fi film

                    Time travel is a science fiction concept that is well worn and well loved. I always have an issue with it as by its very nature the concept cannot work. If you find out about your future, you have already changed it! The entire concept is a paradox and one that cannot exist in a single timeline; therefore all films, books and TV shows that report to be about one single story of time travel are false! The only way that time travel can work in any sort of linear media is to use the concept of parallel universes; by jumping from one to another you are following one coherent thread and ignoring many others that are not as convenient. This means that there are countless other outcomes to what happens in 'Back to the Future', 'The Time Traveller', etc. Of all the films I have seen about travelling through time perhaps 'Timecrimes' is the closest I have seen to getting it right?

                    Hector and his wife have just moved into a new house in the peaceful countryside. When looking through binoculars in his new back garden Hector sees the strange sight of a topless woman apparently in distress! Rather than get his wife to call for help he sends her to the shops and goes to investigate himself. On arriving at the scene the girl is gone and Hector is attacked by a mysterious man wearing pink bandages around his face. He flees to a nearby building which turns out to be a laboratory. Here he meets a nervous scientist and is told to hide inside of a large bowl. The lights flash and Hector wakes up the day before. What is going on? Why is he in the lab, but another version of him is at home? Who is the bandaged man and what became of the distressed girl?

                    'Timecrimes' is a classic time travel film in that it's a mind scramble! With an extremely modest budget it is up to Director Vigalondo to stretch what he has to make a compelling film - and he does. This is a film without fancy special effects and instead relies on the reactions of the main character Hector. Played by actor Karra Elejalde, Hector is not your usual film hero as he is chubby, balding and middle aged. This lack of finesse in the character only adds to the gritty nature of the film as you are drawn in by its realistic feel.

                    Being a Spanish film the concept of time travel and its peculiarities are heightened. The use of subtitles throughout gives it a further unreal feel and really add to the atmosphere. I don't feel like such a low key film could have worked if filmed in England - it needed the foreign influence to work. Some people may be put off by having to read subtitles. It was not an issue for me as they were clear. It also helped that many of the elements of the film were visual and did not require dialogue.

                    Like with most time travel films I felt at the end it did not make true sense as it was too paradoxical. This didn't stop me enjoying the film and my partner and I had a nice debate afterwards to what actually went on in parts. We even went back to watch segments of the film to try and pick up some of the reveals and clues that Vigalondo had left. As we follow Hector through several trips through the day they start to overlap. At this point you realise that elements that occurred on 'day 1' are due to what happened later. It is an exciting feeling when you realize that something has already happened and you know exactly what is coming next.

                    It is the ability to keep the twist and turns coming, whilst still having a coherent storyline, that makes 'Timecrimes' stand out. If you look into it too deeply you are bound to find more holes than a pair of twenty year old underpants, but this does not matter so much when you are having such fun. Director/writer Vigalondo manages to get a lot of content into a film that has a low budget and actually enhances it using the grungy handheld cameras. The film also benefits from being in Spanish as this heightens the otherworldly nature of proceeding. This is a must watch for fans of science fiction, but is also a good thriller for fans of crime.


                    Director: Nacho Vigalondo
                    Year: 2007
                    Cert: 15
                    Starring: Karra Elejalde
                    Price: Amazon uk £5.98
                    Play.com £5.99



                    Extras

                    Not a huge number of extras, but there was a subtitled featurette of the making in the version that I saw. The low key special effects and handheld camera work means that the film does not lose anything from being on DVD and not BluRay.

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                      27.08.2009 16:31
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                      Awesome little time travel film, that probably eclipses any other.

                      I don't know where to start with Los cronocrímenes (aka Time crimes) I watched it last night, and I need to watch it again to understand it, except if I do I think my brain will explode.

                      Let's get the basics out of the way, it's Spanish, it was made in 2007 by Nacho Vigalondo who wrote, directed and plays a supporting role. The plot in it's simplest terms concerns Hector (Karra Elejalde)who accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back about an hour in time, setting off a series of seemingly minor mishaps with unforeseeable consequences as he attempts to put things right.

                      Los cronocrímenes is supremely intelligent, taking ideas from just about every time travel film ever and getting rid of all the unnecessary bits, it's so down to earth it's practically a kitchen sink sci-fi film. At times it's like a farce, it reminded me of The Simpsons Halloween Special time toaster segment and Hector is as moronic as Homer. You want to hit him except he gets battered at every turn and he's endearing as he learns from his (horrendous) mistakes, although the ending is ambiguous to say the least. It's apparently being remade by the Americans, but I don't know how they'll dumb it down enough to get it to make money.

                      There are possibly plot holes. I mean why isn't a time machine heavily guarded? It's in a house next door, with no one working on it at the weekends, but I say possibly because it's so ridiculous it's charming. Maybe it's just a cultural difference, because we live in the most surveilled country in the world I can't my head around the fact some Spanish guy has a time machine in his garage. I suppose it's possible, look at the DeLorean in Back To The Future (and Butterfly Effect, and Terminator) which Los cronocrímenes emulates on a much smaller and considerably more intelligent scale.

                      I've said this before, this thing about ideas, that's all a film needs, if the ideas are strong enough they'll gloss over all the cracks, not that there are many in Los cronocrímenes because depending on your point of view, one man's plot hole is another man's paradox. Technically it's reminiscent of Spielberg but plot wise it reminded me of classic sixties British sci-fi like Quatermass and Invasion and Timeslip, films that relied on ideas, films whose priority was to entertain rather than gouge cash.

                      In case you hadn't realised, I loved this film. It is low budget and high brow but not pretentious. It's tense, and engaging and efficient it's clever without being smug. There's no CGI, or shaky cam, yes a modern low budget sci-fi film where they could afford a tripod and a crane. Michael Bay should be forced to watch, to see how to make a film that entertains beyond the trailer. Afterward he would hopefully shoot himself in the head, knowing he could never come close to producing something like Los cronocrímenes because he has no imagination. Failing that, I could go back in time and shoot him myself.

                      Written for www.nefarious.co.uk

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