Time travel thriller with pink bandages
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14th May 09
An unfit Spanish man gets stuck in a time loop because he was perving at some great boobs.
Moving house is a pretty stressful affair, is it not? Especially if your name is Héctor, and you're the main character in the new movie Time Crimes. You see, Héctor, or indeed his wife, Clara, should have taken notice of that big steel fence that divides their ample garden from the ominous-looking research facility that occupies the large area to the rear of their charming new property. Bloody estate agents...you just can't trust them, can you? Didn't Héctor notice the fence? Didn't he care?
It all starts to wrong for Héctor the moment he spots a partially obscured pretty girl taking off her top in the distance amongst the trees, while sitting on his large behind, staring through his binoculars. So, being a red blooded kind of guy, he investigates further, taking a stroll into the wooded area where he is suddenly stabbed in the arm by a weird figure with a pink bandage wrapped around his head. Taking refuge in the aforementioned nearby unit, he meets a scientific-looking type who tells him to hide inside a huge container filled with clear liquid. Scared out of his wits, Héctor gets in, the lid closes, and when he re-emerges, he has travelled back in time one hour. From outside, he looks through his binoculars once again. He sees himself, talking to his wife in their garden, just as he did one hour ago, before perving at the boobs. Will his life ever be the same again?
Time travel is a funny business. The word 'headfuck' springs to mind more than once when trying to articulate the effect of a film like Time Crimes on my tiny little brain, but that's ok, because more often than not, our brains aren't forced to function when watching movies these days. Not the case with Time Crimes. This is a genuinely clever and engaging little time travel thriller which grabs your attention right from the get-go, and the longer you stick with it, the more you realise the excellence of the plot's conception and its visual treatment here.
It's always nice to be treated to economy in cinema. Debutant director Nacho Vigalondo sets his story around a restricted area (the research silo and Hector's nearby house) where the time loop exists, never allowing the external, unaffected world to creep in. The same can be said about the characters; there is only Hector (Karra Elejalde), his wife Clara (Candela Fernández), the 'girl on the bike' (Bárbara Goenaga), and the lab guy (Nacho Vigalondo), all of whom you will meet in the first 20 minutes, then time and time again throughout. Nothing extraneous, this is as lean as a time-travelling Argentine steak. Time Crimes is also almost free of traditional sci-fi aesthetics. No flux capacitors here, or flashy effects, because the story simply doesn't need it. This operates on the bare minimum.
This is quite a tricky film to review, in that giving anything away will spoil a great many elements for the viewer. Suffice to say, this is one of the smartest time travel movies to grace our screens in recent times. Perhaps this is down to its low-budget status (as was the case with Primer), where a single vision has been realised, without the intervention of dozens of other script writers. Yes, you will ask questions. Yes, you may feel the need to watch it again. And yes, your grey matter will operate on some kind of level after the credits roll. Is this a bad thing? I think not.
Look out for one of the funniest scenes ever featured in a non-comedy, involving the 'girl on the bike' asking the pink bandage man if he's ok after he crashes his car. Priceless.