Timecrimes (Spanish: Los Cronocrímenes) is a 2007 Spanish science-fiction thriller film written by, directed by, and starring Nacho Vigalondo. The film stars Karra Elejalde as Héctor, a man who becomes part of a time loop and must stop his other selves from continuing to exist. The film premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas in September 2007.
Promotional release poster
|Directed by||Nacho Vigalondo|
|Produced by||Eduardo Carneros|
|Written by||Nacho Vigalondo|
|Music by||Eugenio Mira|
|Cinematography||Flavio Martinez Labiano|
|Edited by||Jose Luis Romeu|
|Distributed by||Karbo Vantas Entertainment|
In the Spanish countryside, a middle-aged man named Héctor (Karra Elejalde) and his wife Clara (Candela Fernández) live in a home that they are renovating. Héctor scans the forest behind their house with binoculars and sees a young woman take off her T-shirt, exposing her breasts. When his wife goes shopping, he investigates and finds the woman on the ground, naked and unconscious. He is then stabbed in the arm by a mysterious man with pink bandages on his face. Fleeing and breaking into a mysterious nearby building, Héctor contacts a scientist (Nacho Vigalondo) by walkie-talkie, who warns him of the bandaged man and guides him to his location, promising safety. The scientist convinces Héctor to hide from the bandaged man, who is just outside, in a large mechanical device. However, when he leaves the machine, Héctor discovers that he has traveled approximately an hour back in time.
The scientist explains that the machine is an experimental time travel device, and refers to Héctor as "Héctor 2". The scientist tells him that they need to stay where they are and let events unfold. Despite the scientist's warning, Héctor 2 drives off in a car, passing a cyclist, only to be run off the road by a van, cutting his head, which he wraps using the bandage from his arm wound. The bandage turns pink from absorbing the blood. The cyclist approaches to see if he is all right - it is the woman he earlier saw in the forest. He proceeds to replicate events by making her undress in view of Héctor 1. When she runs away, he catches her, inadvertently knocking her out. He lays her out naked on the ground and then stabs Hector 1 in the arm when he arrives. The woman escapes. Héctor 2 returns to his home, where he hears a scream and chases a woman through his house and onto the roof. When he attempts to grab her, she slips and falls to her death. Seeing the body from the roof, Héctor 2 is horrified, believing he has killed his own wife.
Héctor then contacts the scientist over a walkie-talkie and convinces him to lure Héctor's past self to the lab with warnings that he is being pursued. Driving to the lab, Héctor 2 insists that he must travel back one more time, despite the scientist revealing that there is a Héctor 3, who told him he must stop Héctor 2 from doing just that.
After removing his bandages, Héctor 2 convinces the scientist to send him back several seconds before he initially appears. He finds a van and runs Héctor 2 off the road, but crashes as well, knocking himself out. Upon waking, he informs the scientist he has failed and to stop Héctor 2 by any means. He encounters the woman again, startling her into screaming, though she does not recognize him as her assailant. Since Héctor 2 has heard her scream, Héctor 3 and the woman flee to Héctor's house. They become separated. Héctor 3 finds and hides his wife, then realizes what has to happen / will happen / has already happened. He finds the woman, cuts her ponytail off, gives her his wife's coat, and tells her to hide upstairs. Héctor 2 chases her onto the roof. Héctor 3 sits on his lawn with his wife, as Héctor 2 accidentally kills the woman, then drives off. Emergency vehicles are heard approaching in the distance.
In the documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD Nacho Vigalondo credits 2000 AD comic magazine as the biggest influence on Timecrimes, particularly the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons one-off "Chronocops" from #310 (1983).
The film's score was composed by Eugenio Mira. The film also uses the song "Picture This" by the American rock band Blondie, which director Vigalondo has stated he chose because he "love[s] the arrangement of the song and the chords. It's a happy song, but it's very sad and it's close to the movie".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 70 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Timecrimes is a low-budget thriller that's well-crafted and loaded with dark humor and bizarre twists." The film also has a score of 68 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 15 critics indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times noted the role of female frontal nudity and fast-paced action in making a time-travel film with no special effects. She praised writer/director Nacho Vigalondo's "audacity" in being able to create "urgency and disorientation from the thinnest of air" despite the film's low budget and lack of special effects. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe doubted whether Timecrimes actually makes sense but credited Vigalondo with making clever use of the time machine in order to allay the viewer's skepticism. Referring to the planned remake by director David Cronenberg, and alluding to Héctor's "human sequels", Morris concluded that Timecrimes "deserves a doppelganger". In retrospective, A. A. Dowd of The A.V. Club interprets the film as an allegory about adultery, comparing Héctor's increasingly complex and confusing actions to those of someone lying to hide an affair.
An English language remake was originally planned to happen with United Artists. However, the project never came into fruition and hit a deadline with no product. In 2011, the project was moved to DreamWorks with Steve Zaillian planned to write and produce.
- Tim Basham (21 September 2007). "Fantastic Fest 2007 in Austin, Texas: Day One". Paste. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "Los Cronocrímenes (2008) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- Goodwin, Paul (Director) (2014) Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD. London: Metrodome.
- Ryan Turek (20 November 2008). "EXCL: Talking Timecrimes With Nacho Vigalondo". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Timecrimes at Rotten Tomatoes
- Timecrimes at Metacritic
- Catsoulis, Jeannette (12 December 2008). "Time Marches Backward, Determination Forward". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Morris, Wesley (23 January 2009). "Time is of the essence in metaphysical thriller". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Dowd, A. A. (15 November 2013). "Adultery is the real crime of Timecrimes". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (18 January 2011). "DreamWorks Acquires 'Time Crimes' Which Steve Zaillian Now Re-Writing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Weinberg, Scott (January 19, 2011). "Steve Zaillian Takes 'Timecrimes' Remake to DreamWorks". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2017-08-01.