Movie Information

The Story: A man -- who is being pursued by a maniac whose face is hidden beneath bandages -- flees to the supposed safety of a nearby laboratory. The Lowdown: An unusually clever and intelligent time-travel yarn with a good share of scares and brain teases.
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo
Rated: R

The Carolina Asheville Cinema has chosen Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes as the film that officially opens their mezzanine cinema lounge room, where films will be shown for a $2 admission. And it’s a good choice. Timecrimes—which had a brief theatrical run in early 2009, but didn’t play locally—is that rarest of rare things: an intelligent time-travel movie that actually holds together on closer examination. I’m not saying that time travel itself holds together, but this film—by its own logic—does, and it doesn’t cheat to do it.

Shot on a low budget by Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo, the film is about a man (Karra Elejalde) who goes into the woods where he sees a woman take off her top. He gets more than he bargained for, however, when a bandaged (à la The Invisible Man) madman attacks him with a pair of scissors. His flight from this maniac slasher leads him to a mysterious house and laboratory where a lab assistant (played by the director) convinces him to hide from the quickly approaching killer in a weird fluid-filled container. It’s at this point that the film really starts playing with the viewer’s mind—in the best possible way. To say more gives the enjoyable—and sometimes very creepy—nature of the game away. You might want to catch the movie in its raw form before Vigalondo’s in-the-works—and undoubtedly more elaborate—U.S. remake takes shape. Rated R for nudity and language.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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12 thoughts on “Timecrimes

  1. ncain

    This one has been showing up in my Netflix suggestions for a while. I have been wondering if it’s any good, so I guess now I’ll add it to the queue.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Or you could go see it for two bucks.

    It’s really a good little movie. I was surprised — after the reception that the same releasing company’s Let the Right One In received — that there wasn’t more attempt to push this originally. I guess they thought two foreign-language films was one too many. (No, this is not in the same league as Let the Right One In, but the audience would have some crossover.)

  3. Ken Hanke

    I would go see it, but I’m in Atlanta

    That would pose a significant downside.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Selling contraband trombones to the red Indians

    Well, I’ve heard of selling contraband saxophones, but never trombones.

  5. Ken Hanke

    You will be visited tonight by the spirit of Spike Milligan. (I trust you realize that no one is likely to have the least idea what any of this is about.)

  6. Sean Williams

    I am pleased to report that Mr. Milligan did, in fact, materialize last evening.

    As the night wore long, I heard a murmuring of “Rhubarb” in the distance. I assumed it was Tom ransacking the refrigerator for pie.

    But the sound approached and increased in volume. Finally, after I had passed a half our in excruciating tension, its source coalesced from the gloom: the specter of Milligan, bearing the chains of licorice he forged in life.

    I feared that he would murder me in my bed, but assured me that he had returned to the Earth from Regions Beyond to impart celestial wisdom. When I asked him if he often returned to Earth, he replied, “Only in the mating season.”

    Needless to say, I asked eagerly for whatever advice he had come to bestow. But all he said was “Yong-Tong Iddle-I Po!” Thereafter, he faded into the night.

    I trust you realize that no one is likely to have the least idea what any of this is about.

    I trust you realize that that’s precisely why I keep going on like this.

  7. Ken Hanke

    I trust you realize that that’s precisely why I keep going on like this

    It’s one of your more endearing qualities. But tell me, will you be walking backwards for Christmas?

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