Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Wed March 25, 2009

Timecrimes

Thrilling and Thoughtful

"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.