New review: ‘Timecrimes’

The American poster for the Spanish thriller

Nacho Vigaldo’s time travel drama is cleverly plotted without really making much sense, at least on a human level.

In Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, Hector (Karra Elejalde), a middle-class man in a new country home, strays from his wife to search the nearby woods for a naked girl and ends up chased by a scissors-wielding madman right into the amniotic pool of a time machine. He steps out earlier that day and proceeds to play an increasingly self-destructive game of hide-and-seek with his other self. And then other selves.

Vigaldo creates a neat little puzzle of interlocking pieces in a pattern we watch unfold through Hector’s eyes, but you have to accept utterly irrational behavior from our time-looped protagonist to make it work. Some of that irrational behavior would make sense if he was genuinely schizophrenic, suffering from hallucinations or even damaged by the act of time travel, but the film’s austerity doesn’t give you much to work with, and the fact is, he’s not particularly logical even before he makes that first time leap. But the voyeurism, the obsession, the undercurrents of lust and violence gives it a surreal quality.

There’s a dark and demented little psychodrama of self-inflicted madness beneath the narrative contrivances. Vigalondo’s direction makes it work more like a waking nightmare than a genuine experience, and he gives it the quality of madness.

I review the film in the Seattle P-I here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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