BluRay/DVD Reviews

TIMECRIMES (LOS CRONOCRIMENES)

By • May 25th, 2009 •

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IMDB gives a budget estimates of $2,600,000. for this little sci-fi brain-teaser. Watch it and see if you can spot any expenditures that might have pushed the flick over a million. Did they actually create a time-travel machine? That might have entailed a sizable expenditure. But otherwise, with its cast of a handful, with its couple of sets, with a shooting schedule that couldn’t have been more than a month…where exactly would that extra million and a half have gone? Maybe one of the filmmakers stole it and then went back in time, never to be found again. Or maybe, as is often the case, IMDB has gotten it wrong. It’s in the filmmakers’ best interests to claim a higher budget than actually existed – it tends to raise the price various territories will pay if the film turns out to be bankable.

It only grossed $38,108 in the US, and that’s sad, because it’s an entertaining, well-made little film. But I sure hope it recoups some of its cash outlay on DVD. The group I saw it with was laughing regularly, more even from the narrative twists and jolts than from the humor. And Video Watchdog reports that there’s an American remake in the works, so the filmmakers should make out alright in the long run.

TIMECRIMES is not an appropriate title. It gets at the plot somewhat, and it has a nice alliterative quality, but I wish they’d done better. I keep a yearly list, in addition to the usual ‘Best Films’ ‘Best Performances’ ‘Best screenplays’, etc., lists, which is ‘Worst Titles.’ Last year included MIRACLE AT SANTA ANNA. This year, so far, includes THREE MONKEYS and THE SOLOIST. The category suggests that the titles will help the film fail financially rather than enhance its earning ability. TIMECRIMES doesn’t make it into that category, but neither does it adequately describe the film, and in fact it’s misleading.

Karra Elejalde is a strong lead, often utterly convincing in his pig-headed momentum. He reminds me of Hilmi Sozer, one of the stars of JERICHOW, another good film I caught earlier this year – a German reworking of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. Sozer and Elejalde have a similar look, and I’ll bet are nothing like the characters they play in person. But as portrayed, they represent many of the unflattering aspects of human nature, and in TIMECRIMES it gets our luckless lump into a heap of accelerating trouble. Since “spoilers’ would occur after the first ten minutes, I’m at a loss to describe the plot, except to say that it wraps itself around your brain and asks you to keep up.

Claudia Geisler, as the girl in the woods who shows her breasts, is captivating in a flower child kind of way, and while we learn precious little about her, the lure of her skin, and her love-era face, are enough.

Included on the disc is an earlier short by director Nacho Vigalondo called 7:35 IN THE MORNING (2003), which went up for an Academy Award in 2005, and won several others around the globe. TIMECRIMES also won a batch of awards, including one each at Austin’s Fantastic Fest and the Philadelphia Film Festival.
For a time-travel plot, the film is tightly claustrophobic. In addition to its dramatic rewards, it might be a prime example of how to write a strong script for a stringent budget.

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One Response »

  1. Love the graphic design of the poster. Might be the best poster of 2007.

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