Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Killer Paradox: Timecrimes (2007)

Timecrimes (Los Cronoscrimenes) (Spain, 2007)
Rating: ****
Starring: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga

I may not be a big scifi fan but I am willing to give a few a try considering they're well worth it; so long as it doesn't get too confusing and use too many plot twists just for the sake of franchising, I'm all up for it! (odd coming from a Doctor Who fan) Mix it in on some mad slasher films and I'll guarantee to you that you'll have me baited! But to do one perfectly is hard, which is why I'm always so open to see one and keep an open mind to appreciate their efforts.

And while many easily did this by exchanging fleshy humans for robots (HARDWARE (1990) and Chopping Mall (1986)) and aliens (Alien (1979), Without Warning (1980) and Almost Human (2012)) for killers, or lazily chucking slasher heroes into a scifi setting (Leprechaun 4: In Space and Jason X), director Nacho Vigalondo tried a more grounded scientific exploit, which is the major plot point of this ingenious thriller.

Hector is a bored husband who's moving in with his wife to a new home, comfortably tucked near the woods. After being spooked by a silent phone call, he decided to pass the time by testing out his binoculars, spotting a radio tower and a girl who's currently stripping. Obviously thinking this is beyond ordinary, his curiosity leads him into the woods, looking for the nude girl but only to find her passed out against a rock. It was then when he found out he is not alone and a man with pink bandages covering his head stabs him with a pair of scissors, chasing him through the woods until he finds salvation in the form of the radio tower he spotted earlier. A voice from the building helped Hector get in  and eventually allows him to hide inside a large container filled with white liquid.

When he re-emerges, Hector finds himself exactly an hour earlier from the events involving the bandaged man, spotting his earlier counterpart and learning through the young scientist that lead him in that the container he went through was actually an experimental time machine. Despite the man protesting Hector to stay put and let the events play itself, hector nonetheless ventures out of the lab and will soon figure out he consequences of damaging the loop of time.

It's a swell flick that makes you think on how one same event will play out through different vantage points of the very same person, and of how desperate a situation can get considering it is something beyond our control; Timecrimes craftily played with this idea and despite it's lack of any real depth or meaning, it is surprisingly entertaining nevertheless.

Plot holes are, not surprisingly, present but what makes this thriller a bit different from your other time travel movies is that it dwells into the darker realm of the fictional science theme, tackling the subject of sacrifice and devolution of one's personality whenever the scenario comes to play, quite an extravagant theme that could overlook any flaws in the story without being all too complicated itself.

Told true, the limited settings and characters makes this story simple yet intriguing; the movie is vehicled by Karra Eljade's workable role as Hector, an average man plunge in a not-so average situation that, a person that while not too likable, you do get to feel for his plight as he tries to piece things together. There are other casts, including the director himself who played the young scientist that does his best to help is estranged subject, all are strong in their respective roles but slightly overshadowed due to the film's focus on Hector. The "slasher" aspect of the film, interestingly, wanes the further the plot goes, beginning in full force before disappearing as the later parts becomes a situation/character study.

Timecrimes is a scifi film that is accessible in its lack of over-complicated twists and yet promises every possible small detail will hide a higher purpose. It's the best of both worlds and it's often hard to come by of such a film that perfectly balances itself. May you be a horror fan, a scifi geek or a plain movie lover, this thriller definitely offers an excellent viewing.

1 female pulled off a roof, fell to her death.
Total: 1

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