The less you know going into Timecrimes, the more you’re going to enjoy it, so an ideal review for the film would be something like: “You there! Go see this!” But that review wouldn’t fulfill my primary obligation as a film critic — to fill up this box with words. Even if I slap a couple more exclamation points and a “seriously” on there, it’s still too short. So instead, I’m going to attempt to review the entire film while only divulging details from the first 10 minutes or so, but I’m still going to tag the rest of this review with a “spoiler alert,” so that those of you already convinced to go see the film can skip reading this without worrying about hurting my feelings.
Go ahead. We’ll talk afterward.
Very quickly: Hector (Elejalde) is sitting outside his house, innocently looking into the woods with a pair of binoculars, when he spots a topless lady. He goes out to investigate, and a man with a bloody bandage wrapped around his head attacks him. Hector escapes to a nearby laboratory, where he breaks a window and searches for a hiding place. A guy who may or may not be a scientist (Vigalondo) finds Hector and suggests he hide from the attacker inside a mysterious tank of smoking fluid. Hector agrees, which in retrospect, seems like kind of a bad move. Turns out the tank’s a time machine, and it sends Hector back one hour into the past. And that’s as much as I’m going to ruin for you.
Time travel, even an hour’s worth, creates all kinds of insane paradoxes for Hector, and watching his increasingly desperate attempt to prevent a previous version of himself from stealing his home and wife is alternately suspenseful, disturbing, and hilarious. Impressively, Vigalando’s film explores the mind-melting ramifications of time travel intelligently without becoming overly scientific or convoluted.
Only after the credits roll, when you begin really processing what you’ve just seen, will you start to notice that strange burning smell leaking from your ears.
Go see this. Seriously.
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