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Timecrimes (Magnolia)

2007, Rated R

By Phil Morehart · April 8th, 2009 · Couch Potato
I wish that I didn’t have to review Timecrimes. Not that I didn’t like it — quite the opposite. This Spanish sci-fi thriller is one of the most original films released in years. Why the hesitation? Simple. In order to experience this intense mind-fuck puzzle to its fullest, confronting it blank is essential. Knowing too many details ruins the fun. However, since a cryptic “trust me” won’t suffice (if it does, stop reading now), a bare minimum can be revealed without spoiling Timecrimes’ many surprises.

Karra Elejalde delivers an expert performance as Hector, an average middle-class Spaniard who spies a naked woman in the woods behind his large country home. Nearby stands a darkly dressed man whose face is entirely obscured by blood-stained bandages — and he’s staring right back at Hector! Being the curious, voyeuristic sort, Hector investigates, spiraling into a breakneck adventure where each move impacts the past, present and future. Oh yeah — time travel plays a huge factor in this odyssey, another detail best left silent for maximum impact. In fact, Timecrimes ranks amongst the best time-travel films thanks to writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s script. Vigalondo — an Oscar nominee for the 2005 liveaction short, 7:35 de la mañana — weaves an ingenious narrative that folds backwards and forwards in time while always moving with maddening velocity. The forethought, density and precision are breathtaking. It’s no surprise that an English-language remake is in the works, and the rumored involvement of David Cronenberg is perhaps the most succinct Timecrimes endorsement yet. Grade: A



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