7 April 2009 | jdesando
Thrilling and Thoughtul
"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, Time Crimes, 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. Its 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.