Wed March 25, 2009
Thrilling and Thoughtful
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"Time is a storm in which we are all lost." William Carlos Williams
"Time flies around here," says Hector's (Karra Elejalde) girl friend
before time gets warped maliciously when he goes back in a time machine
for about an hour. The ironic statement could as well apply to this
intelligent sci fi that actually tries to show what confusion will
reign if we ever do time travel.
While this Spanish thriller is reminiscent of Memento's playing with
time and memory and various other time travel fictions, it lacks
psycho-philosophical depth (notwithstanding the Hitchcock relevance of
the hero using binoculars to see a fetching lass). Even more,
character exploration is secondary to the puzzle of time traveling. The
film, concerned with the tricky interplay of cause and effect in the
travel, could have given more to the ethical-humanistic implications of
voyeurism and bending nature to our will.
Its atmosphere is creepy enough, a black and white effect from muted
color, a semi-real world where appearance and reality collide, not
unlike this time-bound life itself without the machine. It heroine, a
beautiful nude played by Barbara Goenaga, suggests those Freudian
chambers of our hearts where desire and violence seem only a door
opening or time change away.
In an age of "system restore," where we can set our computers back in
time, altering the continuum to expunge viruses and such makes the
premise of Timecrimes seem almost possible. The ramifications from our
computer restore are usually saving time and money; from a time machine may come a chance to upset the balance of nature, to throw ourselves into a primitive state of lawlessness. At least that's how writer director Nacho Vigalondo sees it, and his film theorizes.
Nice to have a thoughtful movie these days.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time and Cinema Classics shows, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com