Groovers and Mobsters is back with another installment and today we focus on one of the most fun elements in the sci-fi genre; Time Travel.
DISCLAIMER: Timecrimes (Los cronocrímenes) is one ultra effective and yet amazingly simplistic look at time travel. I have reservations about writing anything as this fantastic film benefits from going in completely blind. As such I feel telling anything about it would be a spoiler so I’ll keep this as exposition free as possible…although those of you who’ve seen it should know how great it is.
He’s like your reflection. You’re looking in the mirror only this reflection shows what you were doing…
Timecrimes goes a long way to show that the old adage of “curiosity killed the cat” is advice worth heeding. But what fun is a story when a character can’t help himself right? When Hector makes his way home from shopping one day he decides to relax and kick back in the lounge chair on the lawn of he and his wife’s new home. Doing a little nature gazing with his binoculars he sees what looks like a troubled woman in the woods. As he goes to investigate he soon finds himself chased by a strange and hostile figure. He retreats to a nearby house and to save himself is left no choice but to break in. Hector meets a man who offers to hide him from the assailant inside one of his machines.
Hector emerges from the mechanical device and learns he’s become an unexpected time traveler (going back in time roughly 30 minutes) and the man who helped him is a scientist who explains the predicament. If you’ve seen Back to the Future II you’ll know what can happen if you have 2 of the same persons running around in the same time…and in Timecrimes it only gets worse and more complicated than that.
Usually most time travel films employ some elaborate device including (but not limited to) flashing lights, gee whiz mechanics and a confusing formula explaining what makes it possible. Well not here and not in the least. Almost like magic, and even just as matter of fact, the time machine doesn’t even give any clear demarcations but still falls into the trappings of other time travel films. Except for the use of night and day you’d have no clue you had even traveled at all and that’s why the less-is-more approach to this low budget film works so well.
Beyond that Timecrimes is layered so damn well showing time travel complexities and conundrums aplenty. Telling the same 30 minute story from three points of view it becomes a lot like watching the progressive seasons of Lost and you’ll be equally amazed how many ways a situation can be spun/altered when looked at from a different angle (and by more than one person). Another film to do this pretty well (and which is even more layered and cyclical) is Triangle but since Timecrimes has a level of class that can’t be topped (not to mention it came out first) it gets my vote any day of the week.
Actually it’s quite innovative even if there are really no answers to concepts and pseudo science presented in the plot. Hector becomes an unwilling prisoner of the time continuum which deteriorates as he tries to fix the ripple he created. As the film progresses through each act trying to tie up the loose ends gets harder and harder. Don’t feel bad if you start to feel as confused and hopeless as Hector. As with anything it’s all in the details and Timecrimes really gets you to pay attention to them. Liken this to early Christopher Nolan films it really is an engaging film that gets immensely interesting on repeat viewings. If this is the first time you’re seeing it, guaranteed you’ll be blown away by the story that you’ll forget all the shortcomings.
So for more great time travel films and the countless problems/paradoxes that result from traversing the 4th dimension, head over to Movie Mobsters and see the other entries in this series!