***UPDATE*** "Timecrimes" has been picked up by Magnolia Pictures.
Los cronocrímenes (2007)
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***UPDATE*** "Timecrimes" has been picked up by Magnolia Pictures.
"Los cronocrímenes" is a terrific movie, one that was made with a low budget, a reduced cast, and very few settings. It combines sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, action, and also sprinkles of comedy -I found myself laughing out loud more than once while watching this. It's a twisted, tragic, cynical sense of humor that I find very fitted to the Spanish way of being and general look on life.
You may enjoy "Los cronocrímenes" for what it is, taking it at face value, and enjoying the twists and turns (and even if you think you've got it figured out, it keeps the ability to surprise you all along). You may also take a deeper look into it. Each viewer sees a different story and message in a movie; for me, personally, besides an extremely entertaining and thoughtful mystery and action movie, "Los cronocrímenes" offers good insight into the human soul, our deepest and darkest motivations for things, and how the line between good and evil is ever so blurry.
Our hero manages to find himself trapped in a time continuum that keeps deteriorating as he tries to find a solution to the original mess that started it all. The challenge is not how he struggles to tie the loose ends and come out of the mess he has apparently created. Messing with the time continuum always has dire consequences, and this film is a perfect example, but one thing that has always proved frustrating is being in the audience and just watching things unravel. The challenge in this film is becoming an active participant, as you try to figure out how the game is played.
Making things more complicated is the scientist who decides to take a jump and test equipment that has not been properly tested. His actions, along with the main character's, put an unexpected twist in the equation, and fixing things might just be a bit more difficult that anyone ever imagined.
What makes the film so spectacular is that everything is the movie is not the result of high tech, computer generated imagery, or dazzling special effects, or an overblown budget. The fact that the film doesn't even have the best actors give it a sense of reality that helps us become more sympathetic or repelled by the various "crimes" committed by the protagonist in order to fix his other "crimes".
I particularly enjoyed the fact that the film has only three settings, a dark woodsy hill, an empty complex, and a home that is being remodeled. This keeps us grounded and aware that anything is possible and has a chance of happening. Never, through the entire film I even doubted the clunky machine could even work. Great science fiction!!!
The concept that I'm talking about is the idea of an illogical time travel paradox. To be more exact, a predestination paradox. A predestination paradox is when a time traveler is caught in a loop of events that "predestines" or "predates" them to travel back in time.
Hector 1 is caused to go back in time because of the actions of Hector 2. The only reason Hector 2 exists is because Hector 1 went back in time.
Similarly, Hector 3 exists only because of events Hector 3 puts in motion before Hector 2 even knows there is a Hector 3. It could be more accurate to say that Hector 2 decides to use the time machine to become Hector 3 once Hector 2 becomes aware that there is a Hector 3.
It's actually not as complicated as it sounds, and that is the entire plot of the movie summed up. Once the concept becomes apparent within the first 15 or 20 minutes of the film or so, the rest of the film plods along in a very predictable fashion. We know the destination of the character, because for him it has been predestined.
The problem is that watching Hector go through events, and then put events in motion again once he travels in time, becomes a bore. The film takes place across a day, the character only traveling back in time 90 minutes or so. Hector is an unlikeable character and his actions as the various versions of himself make no sense.
To be more clear, an example is when Hector 2 has wrapped bandages around his entire head making himself look like a maniac, who then stabs and chases Hector 1, and forces a woman to undress. The motivations are completely unclear. The only reason Hector 2 does these things is because it predestines Hector 1 to go to the time travel machine in the first place. Hector 3's actions are similar in their lack of clarity, and the only seeming motivation being to keep the predestination paradox intact. Maybe the writer/director is trying to make a point about lack of free will. Personally, I just think its lazy writing. You can't have a plot that revolves entirely around a predestination paradox, and have characters that behave outside of any idea of logic or common sense. Otherwise, what is the interest of the film? What is the draw? When the entire draw of a film is its concept, rather than story and characters, something was fundamentally wrong right from the script up to the filming.
This movie is perfect in that sense, the plot is squared and every small detail has a meaningful reason to exist so in a way is mathematically perfect.. Which leaves you with a rewarding feeling but on the other hand if you understand the plot you can solve the mystery 3/4 down the movie and the last minutes are just obvious.
But this is a great movie.. Thats why it leaves you wondering what would it had been if the plot were more ambitious and more factors had been involved in the equation. Perhaps more characters and more interaction between them.. Who knows! You just want more!
The biggest problem with the movie however is it doesn't explain why the main character does what he does after that. The guy who clearly knows what going on tells him not to interfere with his past self (hector 1), but he does so anyways. For some odd reason he decides he needs to set up the situation exactly as before so he can get Hector 1 to time travel as well (suddenly resorting to video means and sexually harassing a girl to achieve that end).
Even a few small details seem to be missed, like why during the phone call, it was important for it to still be recording hector and his wife making out? Or how hector 2 mistook another girl for his wife (sure its dark but they don't look alike.
Overall the rest of the movie was average (e.g. acting, sounds, pacing) but those questions struck me right away, and was never answer or addressed and left the movie extremely unsatisfying.
Time travel can be real head bender. Frequency and The Butterfly Effect are good examples of comparable movies of this genre (and the Back To The Future sequels are terrible ones) and Timecrimes sits comfortably in that group.
I'll be glad to recommend it to all my friends who have the patience to read subtitles.
For the first 15 minutes or so it seemed like this was going to develop in to a really good movie. But then you quickly figure out what is going on, and then elements of it become quite predictable! This was unfortunate in that the next half hour or so was really boring to watch because it was obvious how things would happen. It's after this initial predictable bit that things start to get more complex, and the story also begins to fall apart.
It really wouldn't make for an interesting read if I was to simply type out all the loose ends and random actions that the characters take in the film that seem to have no explanation at all. I will just say that it had even more inconsistencies than Primer – a film which Los Cronocrimenes is almost identical to. Primer was also a poor film; out of the two I couldn't decide which was worse so I guess that means they were equally as bad.
Now, I'm quite sure I've upset a lot of people with my negative comments about this film so far. People always seem to get tetchy over negative reviews of films that for some reason they see as untouchable. Believe me, I wanted dearly to like this film, but I left very disappointed, bored, feeling I had just watched 'Primer 2', wandering why Hollywood have already bought the rights to make this film and more importantly wondering why so many good reviews when it is quite blatantly contrived, predictable and full of loose ends!
Hector, the main character, does so many unexplained things it leaves you feeling frustrated and, as another reviewer has stated, there are many moments of unbelievably in this movie that requires the audience to leave reason at the door on the way in. Although the other reviewer did state these moments were made acceptable via humour, I did not find much humour in this movie myself.
If a film maker is going to take on a time travel movie then they should at least have the integrity to make sure it all 'works'. However, as usual all this seems to have been looked over by people who insist on giving this film a great review. There only seems to be a minority of people who are willing to point out that there are too many loose ends to make this film work. And if you have a time travel movie that doesn't work then what good is it?
A loser sees a naked woman in the forest, goes to investigate, and ends up traveling through time, via a secret neighborhood laboratory. The way it works: a big pot of liquid and some scientific squiggles with lights on the wall.
I love sci-fi time travel, so I was hoping for so much more.
The story was a stereo-typical time paradox plot; the acting was mediocre; characters' behavior was unbelievable; the directing and cinematography amateurish; the dialog unrealistic; and the nudity completely gratuitous.
I regret having wasted an hour and a half just to see the conclusion.
Time travel stories usually include a moment when the plot gets pulled together in some coherent way, enabling you to recognize the source of the paradox and hopefully providing an eerie feeling as a reward. Unfortunately Los Cronocrímenes does none of this. The entire plot feels concocted, and cheap to boot, with unconvincing actors doing unconvincing things in a sequence which eventually devolves into a big "what-ever".
Moreover, there is not much endearing about Hector, who seems rude or indifferent to everyone around him including his wife. It's understandable that he is a voyeur, but what's the point in stabbing someone with scissors? Or forcing a woman to take her clothes off? Or being dumb enough to crawl into a vat of unknown liquid? After all, it's not like he is facing Hercules here -- just a duplicate of himself. Why not stand up to yourself and either work something out or if necessary fight? I'd trust my own instincts, even a duplicate of me, before I trusted some rather odd stranger who wanted me to hide in a vat of unknown liquid.
I guess if you sat down and mapped all this out with a pencil and paper the event sequence might make some kind of sense in terms of causality. But who wants to do that in what should be either entertaining or provocative? The movie provides little of either. While this one is watchable, there is far better fare out there.
The picture succeeds because the thriller ,tension , plot twists , suspense, as well as a superbly written script delving into the starring paranoia in such extreme situation and his instinctive urge for survival . Despite low budget the movie manages to be intelligent, intriguing and thrilling . The good thing about this film is that the director made it on a shoestring budget only having to do a few sets , yet the movie works on many levels but is constantly reconfigured . Casting is frankly well giving fine performances , though little known with exception of the veteran Karra Elejalde . Good cinematography by Flabio Martinez Labiano , excellent cameraman of ¨Unknown , Day of Beast , Perlita Durango , 800 bullets¨ , among others ; he's Alex De La Iglesia's usual photographer. It was filmed in Solares , Cabezon De La Sal , Cantabria, Nacho Vigalondo's birthplace . This motion picture relatively cheap is tautly written and directed by Nacho Gabilondo in his first movie because he is usually writer for television and shorts filmmaker , has has only directed another film titled ¨Extraterrestre¨. This is without a doubt a thought-provoking and mysterious film to be liked for Science-Fictiona and suspense fans, turning out to be one of the most original Spanish movies of the last years .
I know you all wondering about the violence. In terms of violence it doesn't get graphic at all, minor acts of violence but nothing to worry about not brining the women too.
check out time crimes you wont regret it
"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.
This movie is terrible. The English dubbing didn't help because the voices sounded cheesy and did not really contribute to the atmosphere, but that's minor and easy to overcome. I'm not judging the movie based on that.
Less forgivable is the main character and his actions. In order to make events conform to what he had already seen, he lured a young girl into the woods and told her to get her clothes off. Then, obviously, she tried to run away, and he started chasing her through the woods. And all the time I'm thinking WHY? And then at the end, he gets her to dress up as his wife so that his earlier self will kill her instead of said wifey. Again - WHY? Hector, old pal - no one had to die! This story could have been done a lot better.
**Shakes head in disbelief and wanders off mumbling to himself**
SOrry the movie is ridiculous and introduces stupid concepts just for the sake of it. I found the whole thing supremely annoying, boring at times and basically a non-event.
I suspect the original "past" scenes were simply put there as an excuse to have naked shots of the girl and the director hoped no-one would notice the glaring plot hole they had to introduce to justify it. I mean hey, if you want to make a sexploitation flick and have pointless nudity I get it, that's fine. But then don't go pretending to be something more sophisticated than that.
Honestly, unless you're really just interested in seeing Barbara Goenaga naked for a couple of minutes don't waste your time. Watch 12 monkeys, The Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko or even Triangle for a far better experience.
Hector appears to be living a happy and contented life in their new house with his pretty and affectionate wife Clara, when one day he spies through his binoculars a woman in the woods in the act of undressing. When Clara leaves, Hector goes off to investigate. And there the fun begins, as Hector's quest thrusts him into an adventure that includes the discovery of a time machine, and a dogged quest to unravel its effects.
If you like mind game movies like Memento, Proof or the even harder to follow Primer, then Time Crimes will have some appeal. And while the movie does have some time-twisting inconsistencies, it generally ties the loose ends into a knotty, if not absurd conclusion. The story moves along briskly, requiring intellectual energy to keep up and a forgiving attitude to a few ridiculous devices. Fortunately, there is an occasional and welcome infusion of humor that makes some of the cheesier elements a little easier to swallow. But somehow, the whole thing felt more like a Twilight Zone episode stretched into a feature-length film. Fortunately, like most Twilight Zone episodes, this one had a great ending. I just loved the final shot, which is quaintly ironic, although it will leave some viewers unsatisfied, I am sure.
Sundance Moment: In the post-movie Q&A, Vigalondo said that after shooting his film, he realized what it really wasa love triangle story. My reaction was "Huh? Did I watch the right movie?"
The problem lies in that there is no insert point into the time loop. Every thing that happens that gets Hector in to the time loop is actually initiated by a prior-instance of Hector.
Major major spoilers.
Hector is sitting in his backyard watching the country side with binoculars from a lawn chair. He sees a pretty girl remove her shirt and eventually decides to go over to see what's going on. Later we see Hector forcing the girl at scissor-point to create this event. So, if an earlier Hector had not made the girl get naked, then the later Hector would have not gone to investigate, and so on.
So, how did Hector get into the time machine to begin with? This is not answered, and without it the whole adventure makes no sense.
I also found the ending rather pointless - as, according to Hector, it was necessary for a girl to die in order for him to exit the time loop. Only there were many other opportunities for him to do so. Why the death? I guess the writer wanted it to be a dark comedy. And so it is.
Rent it with another movie so you have something else to watch.
This movie is a prime example of a good story line that was very poorly executed. Characters did things for no good reason other than to force an artificial flow into the next scene. The over-dubbed English voices sounded contrived, like people reading scripts for a radio drama instead of reading for a movie/TV scene.
The budget for the movie was about $2.6. I don't know where the money was spent, but it wasn't spent on the movie.
The bicycle chick was the best part of the entire movie. Without her, I would have given a rating of 1. However, I would not watch the movie for that reason.
in short, this guy is lured into a time machine and gets sent back in time. this scientist explains to him, that he basically has to make sure his younger self also has to go into the time machine to set things right. so far so good.
but the way he goes at that has no logic at all. his original trip to the time machine is triggered by him seeing a naked woman in the woods. so i expect to find out through the eyes of his older self, why the woman was there in the fist place. but guess what! he just grabs her and forces her to get naked! wtf?!