Fast rising spanish director Nacho Vigalondo completely bypasses the sweeping Back to the Future’s of the cinematic world in this terrific low budget time travel flick. Conundrums which are over played in time travel films (going back to 1939 and killing Hitler for example) are eschewed for a miniature play on paradox involving only 4 characters and 3 locations and a 1 hour time travel window. Running closely behind Shane Carruth’s wonderful Primer, Los Cronocrímenes show’s expertly that baffling and then reeling an audience in doesn’t need millions and millions of dollars thrown at it.
We follow Hector (Karra Elejalde), a regular husband with a regular wife (Candela Fernàndez) as they settle into their new country house. It only when his wife heads out for some supper that things get a little strange. Hector and his beloved binoculars find a naked girl in the woods and our poor Hector is called by her siren song. After being attacked by a bandaged man and stabbed he flees to a secluded laboratory and is helped and hidden inside some kind of flotation chamber by a young scientist (Vigalondo). He emerges one hour earlier and then things get very strange indeed.
Vigalondo’s pacing and and restraint are great throughout Timecrimes, his ideas, though small, encapsulate everything loved and loathed about time travel stories; Fixing the past, not trying to screw the future, avoiding yourself at all costs, but it’s the plotting of these ideologies (and the bettering of a few other well trodden ones) within a tiny time frame which lifts Timecrimes above your average low budget sci-fi film.
It’s often frustrating in places which overlap but it’s certainly never dull, in fact it’s strangely creepy and very effective in getting under your skin. On top of that you’ll realise its all been worth the head scratching about one hour in and one our after the credits roll, and over and over and over again.