Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 236: Timecrimes (2007) - Rank 4.5/5


I love the fact that there are two distinct forms of time-travel within film lore. The first notion of time travel falls into the Bradbury realm of logic, a la "A Sound of Thunder." With this form of time travel, you can go back into time, change something, and then go forward into time to find that you've changed the present as well. This method has been utilized primarily in science fiction television, from "The Twilight Zone" to "The Outer Limits," and in films such as "Star Trek IV," "Dragonfly" or the "Terminator" series. The "Back to the Future" trilogy also utilizes this method to the silliest degree.

The second method is far more fatalistic, based upon current "understandings" of space-time (curse Einstein, Hawking and the rest for spoiling our fun). In these scenarios, all time travel is in vein (assuming the travel is conducted with the desire to change the past), for you cannot change the past, for everything has already occurred (for it is the past). Any changes that the character believes he/she has made are actually what led to the future being what it is. "Donnie Darko," "12 Monkeys," and "Primer" all depict this far crueler notion of time does "Timecrimes."

Working-class schmuck Hector decides to relax in his backyard with a pair of binoculars when he sees a woman undressing in the woods behind his home. Upon investigation, he finds the woman naked and unconscious, and himself pursued by a masked marauder. He finds sanctuary in a nearby research facility where he stows away in a tank that turns out to be a time machine. Once transported back several hours in time, Hector is forced to carry out actions that will lead his past self into the time machine so the space-time continuum won't be disrupted. It's not too long before multiple Hectors are manipulating one another in a surreal story that shows how far an average man will sink to restore the banality of his life. Complex, yet clever, it's definitely one of the darker entries in the time travel genre.

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