Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes)
The film turned out to be more than I had hoped and had me thinking about the story and the consequences long after it had finished and I'd left the cinema, the perfect film. Yet at the same time that was one of the problems with it as the more I thought about it the more I worked out how it could all have been different.
It's a fascinating idea and one which is explored with a superbly crafted script. It doesn't seem to falter and keeps the pace going with plenty of surprises and tension for the journey.
I found that I was mesmerised by the story and how the man was dealing with events. The script carries quite a few plot threads to it, each layering on top of the other to reveal more of the overall story.
What's particularly fascinating about the way that it's written is it doesn't play on one time frame like many other stories that use time travel. So often we'll see the same event or time period revisited and altered, but with Timecrimes these threads overlap and extend the story on its own time frame as well as delving deeper into the story.
This provides for a fascinating viewpoint for the film, and really does make the story so much more gripping and engaging. It had me drawn to it almost immediately and I could feel the tension rising as the layers were added and drawn out.
Tension and suspense are strong in this story and keeps building each time a new layer is added, I could really feel myself getting more and more wound up as the film progressed.
It also holds some superb reveals within it, not many of which are wholly expected. Unfortunately I found that the twist at the end of the film was quite apparent, but what was good about it was the way it was crafted and developed on screen, this was the strong part of it and not just the reveal itself.
The acting is good, solid and believable for all the performances, and the filming itself is good, very unobtrusive and at times offering something a little clever, like the moment when the man arrives at the glass window.
Another scene I particularly liked is when the man first arrives at the station on the hill, seeing all the screens and clues around the room makes us realise that all is not as it seems. I really liked that moment where the audience are left to gleam their own understanding of events.
There are a few disappointments though, one was pretty early on when a stock horror moment was dragged out and became unbelievably painful. The man trips and falls while being chased and decided to lie down just waiting for the attacker to come. Oh it was overly painful and I was about to tear my hair out, what little I have left anyway.
I know that's minor, but in such a great film it was a real surprise to see such a weak moment in it and it stuck out like a sore thumb.
There's also something that didn't quite fit right with the final layer of the story which sees our main character give in, almost resign himself to the events unfolding around him. The previous drive that he showed in the rest of the story seems gone, he seems beaten.
Here the story and pace seem to back off and lets the tension disperse with as our character hangs back and no longer gets so involved.
With that ending I can't help wondering what actually happened at the end of the second story layer when the story seems to pivot around as the two main characters stand outside the station in the dark. That seems to me to be left hanging, and where the rest of the film explored the idea well and had gone to great pains to explain and connect everything else, following each thread, it suddenly leaves this thread unfinished, and leaving the audience to make up their own minds about events.
That's all very well normally, but at this stage of the film and with the way the story was going, it just doesn't feel quite right.
Also, once I thought about the story for a while after watching it I began to pick holes with it and with the decisions of the main character. I did begin to wonder why the lead didn't make other choices and not get involved in the main instigating incident, especially when he began to understand what was happening.
You know despite all this I still have to say that this is an excellent film. Yes it isn't perfect, but it's dealing with a very thought provoking subject and one where there are no clear answers or decisions. After all, time travel is just in the movies.
Time Crimes is a superbly written, carefully crafted film that contains surprises and tension galore. Very well filmed and acted it delivers a thought provoking thriller and a unique view of time travel that will definitely enthral.
Release Dates: Currently Spain 27th June 2008, France 17th September 2008.
This article was posted using 3G Mobile Broadband as part of a product review.