Time travel is a fun trope that many films have wrestled with, from Back To The Future’s charms to the maddening complexity of Primer. The thing about time travel is it takes a simple situation and makes it very complicated. Eventually nobody knows if they are coming and going.
In Timecrimes our main character does not set out to change the world. Instead he sits in his lawn, looking at the world through binoculars. He spots something strange in the nearby forest, so sets out to investigate. But a masked man attacks him and he runs away to a nearby villa. Here he meets a scientist who hides the man in a machine. But it’s a time machine and the man is sent back an hour. So he tries to stop the masked man, but has to do so without creating time paradoxes.
Time travel movies are generally clever affairs, but few exist to be completely circular. When you start watching Timecrimes, the character motivations aren’t quite clear and things only make sense when you get to the end.
Then it becomes apparent: there is some kind of loop going on here. The characters are being motivated to undo things that they actually caused themselves. It’s hard to explain without spoiling too much, but the result is a clever science fiction tale and unintended consequences.
This movie is surprisingly no-frills. There are no special effects and very few characters. The script does not spoonfeed, expecting the audience to keep track of the events. Even if the premise is pretty obvious, this movie packs a few surprises at its end that pull classic time-travel mind-bending on the audience. The director set out to make a movie about crime where the victims and perpetrators are not necessarily the innocent and guilty parties.
Timecrimes raises questions about just how our actions change our lives and how little or much control we actually have over our fates. But even putting the philosophy aside, this is one of the smartest time travel tales released in years.[/column] [column size=one_half position=first ] [/column]
Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.
Last Updated: February 2, 2015