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A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.
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Timecrimes follows Hector, a man in the middle of moving to a new house with his wife. Through a series of bizarre events Hector finds himself sent back in time by a scientist working overtime at a secret lab in the woods. Once he is back in the past he spends his time attempting to change the events that led to him being sent back, only to realise that through his meddling he is the cause not the cure. What follows is a darkly hilarious race against the clock as everything unravels around him and only by giving up can he be saved.
Directed by acclaimed short film director Nacho Vigalondo and made for a paltry budget of $2,600,000, Timecrimes is a brilliant example of lo-fi sci-fi. The film makes its point and creates the desired effect without the need for huge set pieces or complicated special effects, instead employing excellent temporal choreography and a well written plot. Far from the gratuitous excess of effects heavy Hollywood blockbusters like The Time Machine, Timecrimes is a low key, low tech masterpiece, its slow burning plot building in inches instead of great leaps and with each plot point leading effortlessly onto the next, and seemingly insignificant details all having a part to play in the bigger picture.
The plot is wonderfully simple, rather than tackle the implications of time travel on a huge historic event, Vigalondo has chosen to focus on the minutiae of human existence. Everything is toned down and cut back to what it needs to be to tell the story that the director wants to tell, four people (including Vigalondo himself as our unwitting scientist) instead of a cast of thousands are plenty.
Through the simple and low tech story of Timecrimes Vigalondo has created a complex tale of human folly and redemption. Through simply making a good film he has outwitted the giants of Hollywood by showing that you do not need CGI or special effects to keep your audience entertained. That you can make a good film that requires nothing more than a well written plot and a great central performance and a quick pace. This film is a testament to anyone who wants to make a science fiction film and doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars to do it, it shows that if you focus on the basics of film making, anything is possible, now only someone would tell James Cameron.