Timecrimes was a ride of emotions while watching the film: it was thrilling, mysterious, mindblowing, and at times humorous. The story follows the misadventures of a middle-aged married man named Hector who just moved in the outskirts of the Spanish countryside. Everything seemed normal until a strange phone call, an encounter with a “neighbor”, and a madman starts to follow him.
The first few minutes of the film start to escalate very quickly. He experiences a peeping Tom moment, and when he tries to investigate what happened, it appeared to look like a woman was assaulted in the woods. He then gets stabbed and runs away—quite awkwardly, at that—into the laboratory of a scientist that speaks of time travel. The events of the movie are so absurd that when one tells it plainly, it loses its charm. I believe that the point of the film is to bring the audience a ride of questions, feelings, and realizations. Slowly, but surely, the plot unfolds itself in a way that is understandable but at the same time too smart to be outwitted. Vigalondo does a good job in this balancing act of being a too complicated science-fiction, a thrilling murder mystery, and the mundane events of life.
One of the other things that made this film what it is is the acting of Karra Elejalde, since he did a superb job of playing the different Hectors. The first one was completely clueless, very curious, and (literally) falls at his feet at times. This stumbling, completely ordinary middle-aged man makes the thriller completely different from all the others. Vigalondo was able to make a believable character, but also was able to develop him as the story progressed.
When Hector 2 showed up, that was when most of the audience got it. This is not your ordinary time travel movie where the hero fixes something in the past. The hero is the reason for his own demise, and there is nothing he can do about it. This paradoxical framework in which the film surrounds itself is another aspect of the film that is worth taking a look at. The storytelling was done in a way that as the events unfold itself, the viewer is brought deeper into the story and even to another perspective. The first time around, we were following the one being chased. This time, we are with the so-called “villain”, which just so happened to be the same man! It’s hard to wrap your head around it at first, but Vigalondo pulled off the storyline with such cinematic genius.
After watching it, Timecrimes would be the kind of movie you would want to rewatch or show to your friends. They would never expect any of the twists, and they would laugh, cringe and cower at the same time. It’s a time travel film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, while putting all the right elements of one. Vigalondo, who also plays the scientist, is sort of a reflection of the audience. We think that we are in control of the situation, but the film proves us otherwise, and we are just enjoying the ride.