Only half as clever as it thinks and even less entertaining.
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Vigalondo explores it (time travel) just enough to keep this thriller moving, and Karra Elejalde is entirely convincing as the unwilling time traveler, who finds himself threatened by not only his past self but his future one as well.
The Spanish writer and director Nacho Vigalondo has audacity to spare. Constructing a looping, economical plot and directing like a fire marshal in a flaming building, he conjures urgency and disorientation from the thinnest of air.
Timecrimes welds a B-movie plotline to precision-engineered writing and a down-to-earth style; add an engagingly sloppy, nonplussed hero, who remains unfazed by the time-bending scrape in which he finds himself, and the result is memorably offbeat.
When done well, they are scintillating cinematic brain teasers, and Timecrimes is one of the best time travel films to come along in, er, quite some time.
Yet while it isn't that hard to stay a step or two ahead of Timecrimes, the movie is still a nifty little genre piece, an old-fashioned science-fiction mind-game with a healthy dollop of "Oh, the irony."
There's a dark and demented little psychodrama of self-inflicted madness beneath the narrative contrivances. Vigalondo's direction makes it work more like a waking nightmare than a genuine experience, and he gives it the quality of madness.
According to rumors swirling on the Internet, an English-language remake is already in the works, possibly directed by David Cronenberg.