Timecrimes (Los cronocrímenes): Review

Foreign cinema regularly flies under the radar of many, fortunately, Dom Munson has got you covered, reviewing 2007’s ‘Timecrimes’.

This hidden treasure comes from the Spanish writer and director Nacho Vigalondo and is a must see for foreign film enthusiasts. Coming out in 2008 it was very much under the radar. For a film with such a small budget- a mere $2,600,000- Timecrimes continually hits the mark. Timecrimes gives the viewer compelling characters alongside a complex story which is built around the simple premise featuring in many time travel based films, the butterfly effect.

Director Nacho Vigalondo on set with friend. Photo: Magnolia Pictures

The story focuses on Hector (Karra Elejade) an ordinary man who has recently moved to the countryside with his wife. As he sits in his garden one night he notices a naked girl in the woods off in the distance. He goes to investigate but finds that same girl lying unconscious against a rock. Whilst attempting to figure out what has happened Hector is attacked and stabbed with a pair of scissors by a man with a face wrapped in bandages. Fearing for his life he flees from the bandaged man and runs to the nearest building, coming across an engineer working late, El Joven (The director, Nacho Vigalondo). To hide Hector from his attacker, he places him into an experimental time machine which accidently sends him back in time by one hour. What follows is a series of events in which Hector discovers the perils of time travel in his pursuit of continuously attempting to fix the wrongs he has made and will make along the way to the present.

A premise as simple and so explored as this could easily become a summer flick to be forgotten by the end of its theatre run. What makes Vigalondo’s work so superb though is that he lets the various clues trickle out within the film keeping the viewers wondering about the series of events that lead to the final fate of all the characters involved. Vigalondo’s story telling is supported by the personal approach taken to explore the small amount of characters’ hector encounters. Furthermore, the complex and realistic depiction by Hector, a man reacting to being flung through times. The very grounded, often disastrous responses he has to his time travel experience which allows for the audience to sympathies with Hector’s predicament.

Timecrimes is truly an original take on the paradoxical side of time travel. This is a film for both foreign film lovers and those looking for a unique take on the well-trodden genre of time travel.

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