Having a fervent fascination for time travel stories, my quest to find a decent time-traveling movie has been met mostly with … nothing. Where are the time-traveling movies Hollywood? Yes, there was the moving The Time Traveler’s Wife back in August but it was more of a romance movie with less emphasis on the sci-fi and then after that, we basically have to go back to The Butterfly Effect (2004) and Donnie Darko (2001) for some decent time-travel brainstorming. It is thus needless to say that I was giddy to discover Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimenes), a Spanish sci-fi thriller directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
The movie has a simple plot and it starts innocuously as Héctor (Karra Elejalde), a paunchy middle-aged man, is sitting on a lawn chair outside his mansion and scanning the countryside with his binocular. He glimpses a beautiful woman taking her top off in the woods behind his house and he feels the urge to go investigate as any faithful middle-aged husband would. When he gets to that location, he is stunned to see the woman (Bárbara Goenaga) laying unconscious on the ground and completely naked. As he approaches her, he is suddenly stabbed in the arm and he runs away in terror. Thinking that he is pursued by some psycho in the middle of the woods, he ends up stumbling into a time-traveling machine which brings him back a couple hours in the past. To his despair, there is now two versions of himself. Will he be able to fix this screw-up or will he only make it worse?
The movie touches on many themes common to time-travel stories such as fate/free will and the universal desire to go back in the past and fix some things up. Unlike most time-travel movies, there is no obvious fallacy to Héctor’s temporal adventures. There is only four characters in the movie. Karra Elejalde gives a solid performance as Héctor and his character changes subtly throughout the movie as the plot unfolds. We also get good performances out of Candela Fernández who plays Héctor’s wife, Bárbara Goenaga who is… gorgeous, and Nacho Vigalondo himself who plays the scientist responsible for getting Héctor in his predicament (or so you think).
An entertaining low-budget time travel movie
Note: R-Rated for some nudity and violence