Sunday, September 08, 2013

"Timecrimes" (Language - Spanish) (2007) - Movie Review

“Timecrimes” is the kind of film that gives hopes to young filmmakers and moviegoers like me that complex science fiction is not at the mercy of money draining CGI special effects (while Christopher Nolans’ “Inception” and The Wachowski Brothers’ “The Matrix” benefit greatly but then again the foundation is what drives those). Rather it is at the minds of intelligent film makers much like Nacho Vigalondo out here who reminded to go back and rewatch “Primer”. That film was dauntless in treating its audience to figure out the puzzle they put forth and behaves providing a sense of solving a crossword. Mind you that it will be annoying to not finish the crossword but the fun though is there in those squares. Flexing your mind is healthy in the current trend of mindless fodder of butchered formula in films that bears to have the life span of a fly.

This Spanish film begins with Hector (Karra Elejalde) settling in his new home with his wife (Candela Fernandez) when he ogles with his binocular on the country side from his backyard. He sees a naked woman laying possibly unconscious or even dead and his curiosity takes him through the woods. While getting there close to her he gets stabbed by a man with red cloth on his face and begins to runaway ending up in a remote building. The building looks like a lab facility and he hears a voice in a walkie-talkie which leads him to the Scientist played by director Nacho Vigalondo in another building and asks Hector to hide in a machine. In a flash he wakes up out of the machine and the Scientist is amused to see Hector as he has never met him or did he remember putting him in the first place. Time travel of the experimental device happens to have landed Hector several hours earlier on the same day. What now?

The above start takes time to settle in and the events therefore on begs to be dissected piece by piece on what could Hector do or doing to get out of this loop. He is in a time paradox and event after event we either think he is acting absurd or dumb even. Yet I would hold reservation till the film arrives at its conclusion. There are flaws and holes you would try to take out of and I bet you begin to predict the plot. While “Primer” let the viewers take in the technicality findings on its own and unfurl the plot, “Timecrimes” is more about the audience begin to piece the puzzle one after another on what Hector will do when he begins to recalibrate the past to make it alter to pave way to the destiny of the day that has dragged him into one long day.

Beyond entertaining us with thoughtful and convoluted timelines and possibilities, the film begins to explore the idea of fate, destiny and freewill. The curiosity of traveling time and space has far become the fatal plot device in failed blockbusters. There have been few successful ones including the impressive “Looper” that acknowledged the fact of duplicates existing and still have a resolution in its own way. When there is another life  departed by time and space gets transported, the clash with that new life in another time still has the survival instinct and the person in future in the present bears no existence. “Timecrimes” does not tangles itself in the possibilities for the world but purely for the story to exist and becomes true to its nature of presentation.

Actor Karra Elejalde who comes off as the middle aged unimpressive man gets his day played again and again. We see a clear travel of experience that has posed on him and we see the difference not alone in his injuries and bruises but in the way his last travel out from the machine is presented when he spits out the water he was drenched in and goes business as usual. He has been through enough for one day and as he lay helpless at the end in his backyard at night with sirens at distant, there is a sense of relief and what this travels have turned him are faced with dark truth.

While I consistently questioned the actions Hector made right from the moment he ventures upon the woods to fill his curiosity and what not, the film begins to soak through us slowly and offers the exercise it is going through. The screenplay again by Nacho Vigalondo is tight and the debate continues in the mind but in the box of the time within which the movie happens, it makes sense. The only way the time paradox can be ended is with the non-existence of the anomaly created by the time machine. Yet the survival instinct of that person in that present does not get altered by the travel. Hence all wrong things are bound to happen unless they meander in to place wherein they have no bearing to meet their original or duplicate. Nacho knows the fight in humans to survive and stick to the life they have created. It works in “Timecrimes”.

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