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By Merle Bertrand | January 19, 2008

Time travel movies are a tricky lot, full of paradoxes – or would that pardoxi? – puzzles, and plenty of plot points about which we can argue over once the credits have rolled and the houselights come back on.

When done well, they are scintillating cinematic brain teasers, and “Timecrimes” is one of the best time travel films to come along in, er, quite some time.

Hector (Karra Elejalde) is just a normal guy trying to relax in his backyard at the end of a long day, when a movement up in the wooded hills surrounding his house catches his eye. He grabs a pair of binoculars and through them, spots a beautiful young girl standing topless in the woods. When Hector makes the fateful decision to investigate, he inadvertently launches himself into this tense, blackly amusing time travel story; one that keeps adding layers of rich paradoxes not unlike the mummy-like strips of medical gauze wrapped around the villain’s head.

Director Nacho Vigalondo has deftly handled the challenges inherent in a time travel plotline here, by turns adding on and removing the paradoxes necessary to advance his simple, yet compelling story. He lets his audience in on the joke as well, allowing us to see the inexorable unfolding of events at the time as does Hector.

Elejalde is perfect as Hector – or maybe I should say ALL the Hectors, the subtle differences in his portrayal helping to guide us through the interwoven morass of chronological corruption.

A taut, well-crafted smart-person’s thriller, “Timecrimes” is an unexpected delight. Sure, you’ll need a a scorecard to keep track of the action, but it’ll be well worth your time to do so.

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  1. Petet says:

    Really enjoyed the movie, and like Leonard’s imaginative speculation above. There’s a great explanation of what happened in Timecrimes here for whoever may be interested

  2. Leonard Crist says:

    I just watched this and had a theory that deepens the story even more. Maybe the young man who works at the time travel facility and the young woman in the woods are both earlier incarnations of the main couple and that perhaps, the guy has been travelling back trying to fix things for years. Because in the opening, the one thing that is never explained is why the trunk of his car opens for no reason. Maybe that’s hector 4. and perhaps earlier, not shown, there was a hector 5 and a hector 6, etc.

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