“… like “Primer light”; but that is not a bad thing.”
I remember hearing about Timecrimes, but the problem is that I don’t remember what it is I heard. I can’t remember if the movie was recommended to me or if I saw someone bashing it, but when I saw a DVD copy of it in a record store a few days ago I could definitely remember hearing about it. Going against my usually stellar judgement I decided to spend nine bucks and take a chance; luckily that gamble payed off.
Now I’m not going to explicitly spoil Timecrimes but it is a movie that benefits from a blind-viewing. If you want to see Timecrimes I would stop reading this review here. If you know nothing about Timecrimes and are wondering if you should watch it, I would again recommend not reading any more of this review and instead watching it. If you’ve already seen Timecrimes, or you don’t give a fuck about my opinion, then let’s continue.
Timecrimes, as the title suggests, is a film about time travel. Now unfortunately, through no fault of it’s own, Timecrimes is rather predictable. Time travel movies throughout the years, namely Primer, have trained me to spot where stories like the one presented in Timecrimes are going. I know that time travel is not something to be fucked with, and that is usually the moral of these movies. That being said, the best way for me to explain Timecrimes would be to say that it is like “Primer light”; but that is not a bad thing. Those familiar with Primer will know that the plot is very convoluted, so much so that a first-time viewer won’t even begin to understand the movie until they are a third or fourth time viewer. We can argue whether or not this makes Primer a good movie until the cows come home, but that’s not what we are talking about today. Timecrimes takes a plot that is similar to Primer (in that it is about time travel) and essentially streamlines it. Everything in Timecrimes is presented in a way that is about as straightforward as you can get, and I really do appreciate that. It doesn’t dumb down its story, but instead makes sure that all of the information is being simplified for the audience; this creates a much more fun experience for everyone involved. Now I did say that the plot was predictable at times, but again that’s not the movie’s fault. And in spite of this fact, Timecrimes manages to still be a fun experience. Even though the many “plot-twists” lacked all surprise, the movie still remained fun throughout. I think it’s due to the fact that Timecrimes doesn’t really rely on the “shock-factor” of it’s plot, but instead it presents these plot developments and then just continues on its way. I will admit that there were a few moments in the film that don’t get explained, but overall I think the writing in Timecrimes was solid; especially when you think of how it streamlined such a confusing topic. Sure it’s story wasn’t completely original, but the way that it was presented was great and I had fun with it regardless.
Now Timecrimes definitely had an “indie” feel to it; but that didn’t get in the way of anything. Usually with smaller productions like this you have to excuse a couple of sins here and there, but no such thing was asked of you by Timecrimes. This movie is solid the entire was through, and that really stands as a testament to how well it was made. Timecrimes only features four actors, but each one of them does such a great job that you forget there are only four of them. This goes double for the star of the film Karra Elejalde who is essentially carrying the movie by himself for a lot of it. The same thing can be said about the locations used in the film as well; it’s all about quality, not quantity. The camerawork was great, and it was unique as well as being effective. So even though Timecrimes did have an “indie” feel, that didn’t take away from the film at all; as a matter of fact, I would say that it only added to its charm.
The last thing I want to discuss is my feeling toward the story as a whole, and then more specifically the ending. I have mentioned before that I hate paradoxes in movies, and that fact is still true; at least to a degree. The example that I used last time was the movie Arrival, and how the ending was ruined for me because of a paradox. Timecrimes is a movie that is essentially built around a paradox, and yet I had no problem with it; and my reasoning is pretty simple. If you’ve seen Arrival you’ll know that the paradox in that movie is essentially a way out for the writers. They painted themselves in a corner and the only way to get out was to create a bullshit precedent that goes directly against everything we know. This pissed me off because I saw it as lazy. Timecrimes (and many other films) on the other hand are built around paradoxes but they don’t bother me; this is because it works in specific contexts. Whenever time travel is present in a movie there is always a paradox, that’s unavoidable, so these movies embrace it. They have characters question what the fuck is going on, and they don’t try to make you understand. All they explain to you is that it is a paradox; and that works because it’s not trying to be something that it’s not. I feel I’m rambling a lot here so I’m going to get back to talking about TImecrimes. The ending of Timecrimes is one that I would call lackluster. It honestly doesn’t feel like there was even an ending, but in a way that’s okay. Timecrimes presents us a paradox; a story with no beginning or end. So it only makes sense that the “ending” that we see isn’t really the ending at all. It’s the beginning, or the middle, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. I do understand that this goes against the normal structure of movies, and I do admit that I was left feeling a little unfulfilled at the end of Timecrimes, but it does fit within the story, and to me that is the most important part. See Timecrimes didn’t try to be anything that it wasn’t; it was a nice “contained” story that I had fun watching.
Despite Timecrimes not being anything original, it was very enjoyable. There were a few aspects of the story that could have used some explanation, but ultimately I think it was a great stab at a very interesting (and very complex) topic that managed to be smart as well as accessible.
I give Timecrimes a B