Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimes)

The Spanish have been making wonderfully weird and creepy movies lately, such as Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Orphanage (2007). Now comes Timecrimes, a low-budget, time-travel thriller, which is opening the Carolina Cinema mezzanine’s $2 special screenings. It’s the perfect movie to see with friends, so you can all go out afterwards and argue about what really happened onscreen.

Hector (Karra Eleajalde) and his girlfriend Clara (Candela Fernandez) are moving into their summer home in Spain. Clara is busy doing things but Hector is looking into the nearby forest with a pair of binoculars. Through the tree leaves he sees a pretty woman (Barbara Goenaga) taking off her top. He goes to investigate.

When he finds her, she’s lying on the ground unconscious. And a man with a bloody bandage all over his head and wearing a long coat attacks him with a pair of scissors.

Hector runs for his life and ends up in a nearby structure, which happens to be a laboratory. From a window, he sees the maniac heading toward him. What’s happening?!

A young laboratory assistant (Nacho Vigalondo, the film’s director) warns Hector that he has slipped into a time warp and tries to explain it with drawings on a white board. To save himself from the approaching slasher, Hector goes into a sensory deprivation tank filled with some kind of liquid. And when he comes out–well, time is still screwy and Hector sees himself, literally coming and going, which is not a good thing, it seems, when you’re caught up in time travel.

So who is the real Hector? Hector #1 or Hector #2 or Hector #3? And what crimes have or have not been committed–or are going to? And who’s going to commit them? And who are the victims? And can Hector change the future?

I never did figure out all the answers, but I didn’t mind because the movie was so intriguing it didn’t need to make sense. There’s something fun about seeing a movie that is so offbeat and different that you don’t leave the theatre thinking about all the other movies you can compare it with. There’s a rumor that Timecrimes is going to be updated. I don’t know why–it’s perfect as it is.

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