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With: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo, Juan Inciarte
Written by: Nacho Vigalondo
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
MPAA Rating: R for nudity and language
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 88
Date: 09/20/2007

Timecrimes (2008)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Minute Man

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This amazing time-travel movie from Spain demonstrates that you can make a sci-fi movie on a low budget, using complex ideas, but delivered in a concise and streamlined manner. It borrows lightly from Primer and the Back to the Future trilogy but it's much simpler and easier to follow. It's also brilliantly tense with lots of surprises.

Hector (Karra Elejalde) is a married man with a bit a paunch and a receding hairline. He and his wife Clara (Candela Fernandez) have moved into a new home, and Hector decides to relax by looking through his binoculars at the nearby woods. He sees a pretty girl (Barbara Goenaga) taking off her clothes... and something else. He investigates and discovers a scary man wrapped all in bandages and wielding a pair of scissors. He escapes by dashing into a laboratory and ducking into an active time machine. The machine transports him back to a point earlier in the same day, and he must re-experience the same events, while making sure the time-line isn't altered.

Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo keeps several realities perfectly, clearly balanced, using a small handful of actors, a minimum of dialogue and plenty of easy-to-spot visual cues. Likewise, the film's design is remarkable, consisting of futuristic buildings nestled in and around the old-fashioned, creepy woods. I'm not sure how well it will hold up to multiple viewings, but as of now Timecrimes is already one of my favorite time-travel films. An American remake is planned.

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