TIMECRIMES

Nacho Vigalondo's Timecrimes aka Los Cronocrimenes

My favourite kind of films are the ones that no-one else has heard of.

By that, I mean films that are well written, well made, and have a unique idea behind them - but for one reason or another haven't been seen or embraced by the wider public. Either because they haven't been released properly, or because no distributor would take a chance on them.

That was why I grew up loving Moviedrome on BBC TWO as a child. Every Sunday night, Alex Cox would introduce another strange, weird independent film that I would never find in my local Blockbuster. Trancers, The Honeymoon Killers, The Terminator, Cry Baby, and too many others to list here.

Nacho Vigalondo's TimeCrimes, aka Los Cronocrimenes, is a film that would be right at home on BBC TWO, with Alex Cox introducing it.

So what's the film about? It's about time travel - but not Hollywood time travel. This is proper time travel, with all the consequences it brings. This is not Back to the Future or The Terminator. This is a suspense thriller that just happens to involve time travel at its core in an unexpected and unusual way.

It starts out innocuously enough. Hector (Karra Elejalde) and his wife have just moved into a new house in the country. They're unpacking furniture. Then the phone rings, but there's no one on the line. Then he goes into the back garden to try out his binoculars. And he catches a glimpse of a strange woman taking her top off. He decides to explore further, as all men pushing their late 40s would - and that's when things start to go wrong. He's attacked by a mysterious bandaged man, and stumbles across a mysterious science facility staffed by a lone man working over the weekend (Vigalondo).

It's at that point that the film gets genuinely complicated. I can't spoil it any further - but suffice to say that this is a low budget film with no special effects or major stunts, yet is rigorously plotted and directed. There's no fat on this film, and all the way through there's a constant sense of tension, of the uncanny. From the start, we're seeing strange and unusual things - but as the film progresses, these strange and unusual things come to make complete sense. Then you see them again, and they make even more sense.

I can't really say any more without spoiling the film - and I really wouldn't want to give away any of the many surprises this film has to offer. To that end, I really would recommend avoiding the trailer for this film before you watch it proper.

The film is now being remade in 2009 - by David Cronenberg. And having seen the original, I can't think of a better director to do it justice.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480669/

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