Next year there’s going to be an American remake of the 2007 Spanish time-travel thriller Los Cronocrímenes a.k.a. Timecrimes. It’s probably not going to live up to the original, which is a fantastic little piece of film-making and which I would therefore like to draw everyone’s attention to.
The story, which takes place in the present, is seen from the point of view of our main character, Hector. He is a happily married man in his forties, and he and his wife have just settled into their new country home. One day as Hector is relaxing in his garden, and playing around with his binoculars, he spies a topless young woman standing motionless among the trees in the neighboring woods. Puzzled, he goes to investigate, only to be attacked by some lunatic with bandages around his head. And from then on things just get weirder and weirder and more and more confusing. Hector ends up seeing his entire life fall apart and at one point arrives home to discover that his wife has fallen to her death from the upstairs floor. But things are not as they seem.
On a hillside near Hector’s home, a scientific facility is running an experiment. It turns out that Hector has been sent a few hours back in time, and, in the attempt to prevent the disasters that have befallen him, has actually caused them. They key to the events is not just time-travel, but the exact way in which it works. And this is where the film trumps just about all other time-travel movies ever made… it presents a specific way for time to work, and sticks to it!
Commendably, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo comes up with an impressively complex set of events which all form a single and singular time-frame. He also displays singular technical magnificence in the chronicling of the events, repeating the same developments from several perspectives in so virtuosic and perfectionistic a way that any budding film-maker must be compelled to stand up and applaud. The storytelling is supremely tight, giving a poignant impression of just how dizzying and confusing such events would actually be, and at the same time creating a narrative package of pure cinematic sublimity. Timecrimes is perhaps the only time-travel film ever to actually feel entirely realistic. One only hopes that Vigalondo will also be directing the remake.
The 2009 British DVD version is very basic, containing only English subtitles. No extras to be excited about, but with a movie like this, who cares? 🙂