Film (2007; vt Timecrimes). Karbo Vantas Entertainment in co-production with Fine Productions and Zip Films, in association with Arsénico PC. Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Cast includes Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga and Vigalondo. 92 minutes. Colour.
Drawn by mysterious goings-on in the adjacent woods, a middle-aged businessman flees from a sinister masked assailant into a research facility with an experimental Time Machine which sends him back to become his own attacker; his bungling attempts to rectify the resulting mayhem via further trips around the same Time Loop only escalate the chaos, until he contrives a grim final twist which restores a semblance of equilibrium.
This low-budget black farce hovers unsettlingly between melodrama and slapstick in a way that would be hard to carry off in an Anglophone feature, but sits comfortably within the traditions of Spanish cinema old and new, with one eye on the new wave of Hispanophone Horror cinema (see Guillermo Del Toro). The Time Travel plotting itself is comparatively crude, the film's interests lying more in its crime-fiction elements (see Crime and Punishment), but nevertheless makes for a darkly amusing puzzle plot as the interactions between the cast of just four characters pull the knot of causality tighter, and the hero's attempts to extricate himself with a Time Paradox give way to a reluctant recognition that a solution must be found within the immutable timeline. A Hollywood remake was mooted, with David Cronenberg at one stage attached, but the limitations of the deliberately minimalist material appear to have stalled the project. [NL]
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