Timecrimes is one among this handful of rare conceptually adventurous time travel films. It dances with a dexterity of ideas and plotting contortions. Firstly, the film gives us the story of an ordinary man being led through a series of puzzling events and then sends him back in time where it turns about on itself to reveal that his innocent blundering is the cause of each of the events that led him there in the first place. Not happy with that, the film then sends a third version of the protagonist back in time to rectify the disastrous outcome of events from the previous time around. The revelation of each layer of the film comes like a beautifully subtle series of Chinese boxes. The script must have been a major headache in terms of continuity trying to keep track of what was happening at each point in time even which timeline they were in not to mention to lead actor Karra Elejalde who must have gotten frequently confused over which one of himself he was meant to be at any one point in time.
Unlike the Back to the Future films and Doctor Who, Timecrimes has the view that time is fixed and unchangeable the moment the hero moves into the past he seems deemed to re-enact everything that leads up to his being there in the first place. It certainly would have been an even more interesting script if he had attempted to defy fate and change the way that things happen ie. what would happen if Hugo 2 or 3 successfully prevented Hugo 1 from going into the woods or up the hill and getting into the time machine in the first place? Nevertheless, the film works as an exquisitely wrought piece of circuitous, self-contained logic. There is a great beauty and at the same time eminent predictability in seeing every piece of the puzzle falling into place. The logic of the film comes together without a hitch or wrinkle that one can point to anywhere. (One of the more interesting issues is the films lack of any moral objections to the way the hero acts he abducts a woman (Barbara Goenega) and forces her to strip at knifepoint and then at the end of the film allows her to die all in order to preserve the integrity of his own timeline).
Timecrimes was the feature-length directorial debut of Nacho Vigalondo (he also plays the role of the scientist who sends Karra Elejalde back in time). As the measure of any foreign-language success, Timecrimes was brought up for an English-language remake, with David Cronenberg at one point announced as director. Nacho Vigalondo next made the alien invasion comedy Extraterrestrial (2011); Open Windows (2014), a reality bending thriller about online stalking and cyber-surveillance; and the upcoming Colossal (2017); as well as episodes for various anthology films, including the A is for Apocalypse segment of The ABCs of Death (2012) and the Parallel Monsters segment of V/H/S Viral (2014).
(Nominee for Best Original Screenplay at this sites Best of 2007 Awards).