Timecrimes is a time travel movie made on a budget. Rather than filming ancient Egypt or Blade-Runner L.A., this film keep the time horizon close. (With a modern setting, you don’t need convincing costumes, special effects, or vintage cars on every street.) There are very few characters, which makes for cheaper casting and scheduling. In fact, Timecrimes could probably be adapted to a stage play.
R for nudity, language
The protagonist, Hector (an abrasive verb in English), is a middle-aged Spaniard, well off, who like a bull pushes his way through the story, consequences and bystanders be damned. He’s not entirely likeable, but he is entirely believable. Women’s-studies professors could have a field day with the protagonist’s recklessness and selfishness. Many time-travel films warn against tinkering with universal forces; this one’s protagonist wants to know what the universe has done for him lately.
The story involves a Z scratched into the normal timeline. The resulting paradoxes make for an engaging plot and mind-blowing revelations. The film’s strongest point is the very good writing. This is a tight little movie, where every setup is carefully paid off. The tone is funny because of just how careful and perfect the payoffs are, but it’s also very dark.
In other hands, Timecrimes Could have been a heavy comedy a la Groundhog Day instead of a thriller with black comedy overtones. I might have preferred that to the bleak portrait of an upper-middle-class male with a sense of entitlement. But Timecrimes is what it is, and it’s a satisfying piece of entertainment.