Timecrimes (aka Los cronocrímenes) review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Timecrimes is quite the unique experience; one, because it’s a Spanish film about time travel. Two, because it’s incredibly smart and (I’m guessing) because it was most likely a hell to be properly directed, even worse – edited as such. What I’m trying to say is that kudos to the filmmakers to do so much with such little (basically filmed on an indie budget) to produce one of the most masterful eerily thrillers ever being made.
The film starts off with Hector (played to perfection by Karra Elejalde), a middle-aged man minding his business when suddenly, he sees a mysterious man beating around the bush (both literally and figuratively). This mysterious man has some kind of towels on his face and so his identity is not determined, although we as the audience can feel it in our bones that something isn’t quite right. And thus Hector’s adventure of his lifetime begins.
Timecrimes is not for those who don’t want to think; the film requires quite a logical leap and a sufficient intellectual (at least long-term memory-wise) capacity in order to remember everything that occurred in the film prior to whatever action Hector is undertaking at the moment. If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, and you’d need to watch this movie very carefully so that you don’t miss anything.
In a way, Timecrimes plays a lot like the old convention of a self-fulfilling prophecy, mostly present in old Greek and other mythologies as well (Sumerian, Indian, etc). Just like Oedipus Rex, Hector too is wrapped in an enigma out of which there are limited options of getting out, and under a safe outcome as well. Unlike Oedipus Rex, Hector does not commit incest or what have you, but is plagued in a totally different way that becomes, just like Oedipus Rex, his ultimate hubris.
Timecrimes is not a film of characters, but rather a film of an idea. That idea is non-linear time travel, multiverses, and the consequences of breaking the harmony previously established in the physical world. And ultimately, this is a film about the paradox of having the power to change the future, which itself isn’t as much of a paradox as it is a man’s undeniable will to control his destiny, and ultimately his life.
The cinematography is very, for a lack of a better word, fitting, while the lack of music makes Timecrimes creepier than it originally needs to be (then again, director’s choice). Granted, the editing may seem flawless, but at times, it seems as if the various timelines in the film interfere (chronologically, pun intended) with each other by the editor’s fault. But, given the complexity of the chronology and narrative, this is acceptable and never frowned upon.
Should you see Timecrimes? Yes, but prepare an aspirin or two because your head WILL hurt.