Timecrimes makes it seem like you are one step ahead, but in reality that is exactly what the film wants you to think before pulling the rug beneath your feet.
It does not take long to notice that even the smallest of details in Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes are not without purpose. As with most time-travel films, if you were to break everything down you are bound to find plot holes here and there. But over-thinking the logic ruins the entertainment the film provides and what would be the fun of that? The rapid pace of this independent science fiction film keeps one from dwelling very long on what transpires but the whole point of the film is not the outcome itself, but rather what caused the outcome to occur.
Timecrimes gets your pulse going right off the bat by starting out with a setup similar to that of a campy horror film. Héctor (Karra Elejalde) is minding his own business in his backyard as his wife (Candela Fernandez) moves some items into their new country home. Using a pair of binoculars, Héctor gazes around the woods that surround his home when much to his surprise he spots a woman undressing. When his wife heads to town for groceries he decides to get a closer look by heading into the woods. Just as he approaches the nude woman he is suddenly stabbed in the shoulder with a pair of scissors by a man with a pink bandaged head.
It is hard to describe in detail the rest of the film as it runs the risk of spoiling the experience for those who have not seen it. But without giving too much away I will say that Héctor does travel back in time and makes some mistakes, hence the title of the film. And the series of events that follows makes Timecrimes a film that is fascinating, bone-chilling, and confusing, all at the same time.
Just like other well-made time travel films the element of time paradoxes becomes the true enemy. Here they are explored with a butterfly-effect style that may make your head spin. However, Vigalondo does a good job of feeding answers to the audience, while wisely holding a couple cards up his sleeve. Because many of the scenes are re-shown throughout the film, it becomes less about what is happening and more about why it is happening. The pacing of the film is important as it does not allow much time, pun intended, to ask why certain things are happening until after the fact.
Vigalondo handles the intricate time-traveling details rather well while at the same time carefully constructing a puzzle that he eventually reveals. Timecrimes makes it seem like you are one step ahead, but in reality that is exactly what the film wants you to think before pulling the rug beneath your feet. As equality impressive as the brilliant storyline is the range of mixed reactions the film conjures up. The opening scenes the film hooks you with intrigue, followed closely by heart-pounding terror and by the end of the film you will have laughed, been confused, but most importantly, engaged the whole way through. That kind of feat is rarely achieved by films with budgets tenfold that of this indie sci-fi thriller.