Time After Time

Timecrimes (2007, Nacho Vigalondo)

Timecrimes is an interesting movie. From the start, the film takes an almost instantaneous 360 degree spin. When at first one thinks they are just watching a weird movie that starts off with a man named Hector (Karra Elejade) peeking at a naked hiker all-the-while placating his wife, the film’s intensity suddenly ricochets when his perversion leads to a mysterious man stabbing him with scissors and pursuing him through the woods. After an absolutely intense chase sequence where the security of the protagonist is never confirmed, he ends up inside a mysterious facility where he inexplicably travels back in time to the start of the day. Then, he must find out a way to ensure that he is the only real Hector that exists.

That is the basic gist of the movie, and it’s honestly something that has been done a lot before. Films like Groundhog Day, Looper, and even Happy Death Day are all American films that focus on a protagonist that finds themselves messing with time figuratively and literally. What sets Timecrimes apart, however, is how gritty and unpolished the film looks, and yet at the same time, the film’s writing is air-proof. Even the smallest details have an eventual explanation, and it’s staggering how a time travel film like this manages to fill in all the plot holes that usually hurt films like this.

Another thing that I really liked about the film was the way it plays with tone. While the aforementioned opening act of the film is intense, frantic, and almost even terrifying (the class had a lot of people yell and jump during several moments), this is later on placated by some amazing dark humor when Hector (spoiler) finds out that he ended up being the mysterious assailant from the start, and goes very far to make sure that he makes his double cease to exist.

I also think that another aspect of the film that I really enjoyed was the length. In today’s day and age, films usually take at least two hours, and even then, they are not perfect. Movies that have a simple premise can last even longer, and yet they have plot holes galore, or the pacing hurts the film. Timecrimes’ breezy 92 minute premise somehow feels short, and at the same time it never feels like there is any downtime on screen. Every minute, something important is happening, and the second you think the film begins to wear out its welcome, it moves on to another thing. It’s really nothing like any time travel movie I’ve seen before, and it feels very refreshing to watch.

Ultimately, Timecrimes was a movie I enjoyed a lot. While I do have some problems with it (namely that despite the film’s events, the characters all feel rather hollow and insignificant in the long run – the plot feels more important than the characters which is almost an irony considering how one should complement the other), this was a fun thriller and a unique perspective on time travel that I did not regret using my own time on.

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