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Timecrimes (2008)

by on 2010/05/01

 I will probably always remember Timecrimes as the film that killed my computer.

About a month ago, I began this review and, in the process of searching for its image, I stumbled across a site which somehow infected my computer with a trojan or virus.  Despite an hour of triage, the system was effectively dead.

Appropriately Timecrimes tells the story of a man named Hector (Karra Elejalde) who strays from a familiar life in pursuit of a vision and is pulled into an inexorable vortex of self-destruction.

For the original article, I wondered at my sense of conflict: on one hand, I wanted to convey an idea of the plot but, on the other, I didn’t want to spoil a movie rife with twists.  While such a tug-of-war is not unusual in writing reviews, this film employs revelation as its stock in trade.

At some point between that original thought and the present, I realized the dilemma had been pre-emptively resolved by the movie’s own marketing.  Even if I had not seen the trailer (which I hadn’t at that point), even if I had not heard the word of mouth (which I had), and even if I had not seen the video’s cover art, I would have read the title: Timecrimes.  My concern over revealing time travel as a plot device was unfounded; the surprise had been spoiled well before my arrival, even in its original Spanish: Los Cronocrimenes.

So while this is a time travel movie, in no way does it resemble Back to the Future, Star Trek, or the Terminator series.  Rather, this low-budget effort resembles an art-house interpretation of The Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko, or Groundhog Day.  It is a movie built more on ideas than action, but it will not wait for viewers to understand its patterns as it continues to unravel and reweave itself in turn.  It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside a bloody gauze bandage.  Horrific, yes, but still more visionary than visceral.

While I can’t help but feel an undeniable bitterness about this particular film, I will say that I felt favourably disposed by the time I finished watching it.  The specifics of my appreciation are a bit of a haze given the intervening month of rebooting my creative and technical lives but perhaps that’s as it should be.  If Timecrimes taught me anything, I should accept the lesser evils in life; to prevent or undo them might simply unleash worse things.

* * * *

Rated R for language, nudity, and violence

92 minutes

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