Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Hector (Karra Elajalde) comes home after a day of shopping at what looks like the Spanish equivalent of Home Depot. It seems like it’s been a long day for Hector because he looks absolutely beat. He unloads his car, has some words with his wife Clara (Clandela Fernandez) who is doing some yard work and takes a nap. Then the phone rings and ruins his rest, even though no one answers on the other end of the line. No big deal right? Well not so fast my friends because that person on the other end of the line is a key element in what this movie ‘Time Crimes’ is all about.

Anyway, Clara comes up to see who is on the phone, sees her tired man and apparently tired looking Spanish dudes and yard work totally do it for the woman because she is fired up some  afternoon delight. Nothing wrong with that. That business out of the way Hector rests out in the yard with his handy binoculars and start seeing some strange stuff, namely some woman stripping nude in the woods. Why would this be? By this time Clara has run off to get the couple something to eat and Hector sees this woman again but this time something seems amiss so off he goes to investigate. Like an idiot.

He sees some odd things on his path to this woman, and eventually finds her unconscious, buck ass naked lying on a rock and when he gets a little too close to her he finds himself attacked by a lunatic with a pink bandage wrapped around his head. Now it’s time to flee which leads Hector to some kind laboratory facility with this lunatic in hot pursuit. He finds a walkie-talkie and the cat on the other end guides Hector to where he is for his assumed safety. Hector finds this guy, young scientist El Hoven (Nacho Vigalondo) who tells Hector to jump in this big tank because this crazy person won’t be able to find him there and then bam… Hector has been somehow transported back in time like 24 hours. Well El Hoven is thrilled because that means his

time machine works but now there are two Hector’s running around. El Hoven’s instructions to Hector are simple; lay low, don’t do anything to mess up anything and eventually time will catch up to him and all will be good. Hector didn’t hear any of that. Unlike us Hector has apparently never seen a single time travel movie because he proceeds to mess us everything. And if you know anything about time travel movies, once a dude messes up everything what does he do next? Yup, gotta fix it. Oh boy. Let the screw ups begin.

Nacho Vigalondo who plays the scientist is also the writer and director of this little Spanish import that I had heard some mighty good things about and these things are largely justified as his movie ‘Los Cronocrimenes’ is a pretty engrossing and captivating mind trip. It’s also a confusing one at times, at least for me. At the crux of my confusion in this movie is Hector himself and why he does some of the things he does. In fantasy type movie it’s fairly easy to see past what a character does in certain situations because nothing in the movie is reality based, but this movie is totally reality based, with the exception of time travel of course, and this is what made the movie so interesting to watch. But back to Hector. Chances are I’m not going to ‘investigate’ a naked woman in the woods since that in itself is weird beyond my simple comprehensive abilities. Yes actress Barbara Goenaga looks great naked… note she’s all of twenty three so she should look great naked. I looked great naked at twenty three also. Ask anybody. But back on point, if I do investigate, which I wouldn’t do, and I see a naked woman who could very well be dead, I’m getting the hell out of there and calling La Policia! But if Hector does this then the next thing won’t happen which won’t lead to the next thing and these things absolutely have to happen for the movie to move forward.

The thing about Time Travel movies is that you can make up the rules as you go along and this is what Vigalondo pretty much does throughout the movie as justification for Hector’s somewhat confusing approach to this extraordinary situation that this completely ordinary man found himself in. I often found myself wondering what would happen if at some point Hector simply went to go tell himself not go into the woods and ‘investigate’. Would time catch up and then the other Hector’s would simply disappear or instead would he rip an irreparable hole in the time-space continuum and implode the universe?

This is basically a two-man play and both Elejalde and Vigalondo were completely effective in the respective roles, Elejalde descending deeper into near insanity with a situation that he can’t seem to fix and Vigalondo half pleased with his amazing machine and half scared to death with the trouble he’s caused to the rules of the universe. The ladies however, lovely as they are, seem to be included in the movie basically as nudity girl and plot device woman.

So this movie has been picked up by a big time Hollywood studio and is on the remake path, and I’m guessing Nic Cage and William Hurt will be your stars. As much as I found ‘Time Crimes’ intriguing there were a lot of loose ends that the movie left dangling out there that really confused me at times and in a perfect world with an unlimited budget it would be cool to imagine that a Hollywood remake would fix those problems and turn a good movie into an amazing movie. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath on that one either.

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