2007, R, 89 min. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Starring Nacho Vigalondo, Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Juan Inciarte.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 16, 2009

Timecrimes is a tremendously entertaining bit of Kafka that whirlpools down into The Twilight Zone. Spanish director Vigalondo's first feature film is an enigmatic, interlocked series of increasingly inevitable torments for its protagonist and one helluva blast to watch. Predicated on the same sort of trippy, circular logic beloved by conspiracy theorists and collegiate stoners alike, it's a time-travel head-trip of a film, and it succeeds in messing with your mind almost as much as it does with those of its own characters. Fair warning, hippie: Do not drop acid before seeing this film. Similar in tone to Shane Carruth's too-smart-for-its-own-good Primer (in which a pair of Dallas engineers inadvertently whip up a time machine in their suburban garage) but far more engaging, Timecrimes has nabbed a spate of awards, among them the Next Wave award at 2007's Fantastic Fest. It's easy to see why: Vigalondo's triple command of surreal compositions, nerve-raping suspense, and the ability to draw out scarily emotional performances from a cast that includes, in a major role, himself is unassailable. (Director of photography Flavio Martínez Labiano, working on a shoestring budget and filling odd corners of the frame with all manner of important information, is no slouch either.) As so often happens in films about the male self, it all begins with a girl, before beginning again and again and again. Paunchy Héctor (Elejalde, in a breakthrough role) is moving into his new rural, woods-enveloped home with his wife, Clara (Fernández). Stretched out on his lawn with a drink in one hand, Héctor spies a bit of color in the otherwise dense foliage that borders his property. It turns out to be a nude woman (Goenaga), posing as if she were some sylvan wood nymph, and Héctor is immediately and understandably curious. His investigation, however, leads him nowhere – and everywhere – fast. It's impossible, or maybe just unwise, to reveal any more of Timecrimes' plotting here. Suffice it to say that while you may think you know what's going on in Vigalondo's world, you don't, not really. It's a trip, after all, and getting there is all the fun.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Nacho Vigalondo
Fantastic Fest Wave Three
Fantastic Fest Wave Three
Multiple monsters, sequels, and regulars (and RZA)

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 7, 2016

Fantastic Fest 2015: <i>Camino</i>
Fantastic Fest 2015: Camino
Zoë Bell on the run becomes a real leading star

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 27, 2015

More Nacho Vigalondo Films
Toxic masculinity melds with a monster movie

Marc Savlov, April 14, 2017

Open Windows
Elijah Wood is the star of Nacho Vigalondo's nervy thriller about digital voyeurism.

Marc Savlov, Nov. 7, 2014

More by Marc Savlov
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
The Prince is dead, long live the Prince

Aug. 7, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022


Timecrimes, Nacho Vigalondo, Nacho Vigalondo, Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Juan Inciarte

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle