What is it about time travel
films that get me as excited as a teenager finding his first facial hair
? Is it the fact that I am about to watch something that will ultimately confuse me and cause endless debate amongst various members of my family? Can a paradox exist? Why can’t all time machines
look like Deloreans?
Despite the glamorous time machines
which have thus far seen themselves on the big screen, Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes) 'machine' is a simple affair. It makes very little of the time travelling and more of the consequences. It is a smart and yet simple concept.
A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.
Hector, it seems is having a bad day. In a story that owes a great deal to an excellent Murder Most Horrid episode
(starring Dawn French
and Jim Broadbent) our protagonist
is desperately trying to alter what some may argue is his destiny.
As I said before, this tale is somewhat unglamorous in its portrayal
of time travel and this helps you accept a certain reality to these odd events. Unlike movies from Hollywood where you have to have all manner of lightening and neon covered devices
to enable time travel, Timecrimes makes do with a white dip! No. Not the white dip you may see down your local supermarket with which you would use various sizes of breadsticks
to scoop out the contents. It is more like a white vat.
In an unglamorous film then, the glamour is provided by Bárbara Goenaga who seems to be happy to get naked for the camera. You get the feeling that this has no relevance to the story other than the importance of putting gratuitous nudity on the screen but the filmmakers
are somehow forgiven for this decision as they couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to move the story forward. It is as if they all decided to say: "We need something to grab the attention of the main character". “I’ve got it” says the snotty work placement student in the corner, “how about a naked woman”. “You’ll go far” they probably said. It is probably due to a scenario that I have just described that we get to see a nude woman. Is it necessary? No! Are they making excuses for her to be there? Yes!
Many subtitled films are criticised for being too complex for non-native audiences to read and to watch. Surprisingly, Timecrimes doesn’t suffer from this. Of the dialogue used on screen, it is a very easy watch. There is simply no excuse not to see it if you are one of those people who seem incapable of reading text and watching the happenings on screen at the same...you incompetent people!
Of the few characters in Timecrimes there is only one that shines out well and that is the main character. Karra Elejalde manages to look evermore despondent as the film progresses and yet somehow his other emotions seem hollow in comparison. He does “on the verge of going crazy” very well and cannot seem to muster anything else in his repertoire.
Timecrimes is an excellent budget film with a very simple concept. Can you change your own destiny? This tried and tested formula has seen many incarnations though and somehow, despite being entertaining, doesn’t match up to what has gone before. I would argue that the sound department is responsible for not making it a “great film” though. The soundtrack should have had suspense and an element of confusion. However, it managed to sound like a children’s afternoon TV show with man dressed up as a pink Bunny called Winifred. Nevertheless Timecrimes is a worthy watch and for those of you who have never experienced the Murder Most Horrid episode
, you may just think this is a smart film. For the rest of us, we know that time-travel films
(small budget or not) need just a little bit more of a story to them.
So near and yet so far. Timecrimes manages to be entertaining yet nothing it does is new. Somehow the whole film seems to be based on a (very) short story and merely elongated for film. The sound department needed firing as the music was awful. Nevertheless it holds its own against its much more expensive counterparts (The Time Machine, 2002
A good start and perhaps this is a film that its inevitable (and announced) remake
should improve upon in 2011. I doubt it’ll improve the story and the music...but we can only hope!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5