Los Cronocrimenes (a.k.a. Timecrimes) is a 2007 science fiction film written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. The movie deals with time travel, crime and pulp. The film stars Karra Elejalde, Bárbara Goenaga, and Nacho Vigalondo.
PlotHector (Karra Elejalde) sits on a lawn chair outside his new country home surveying the nearby hillside through a set of binoculars. Just as his wife (Candela Fernández) decides to take out the car for some groceries, he catches a sight of a woman undressing amidst the trees, and hikes up to investigate. He’s attacked and stabbed in the arm with a pair of scissors by a sinister figure wrapped in a grotesque, pink head bandage. He runs up to a house where he bandages his arm and, at the advice of a man who tells him over a walkie-talkie that the bandaged man is approaching, runs up to join the man in hiding in a laboratory atop the hill. The man (Nacho Vigalondo) convinces him to hide inside a peculiar scientific contraption filled with liquid, and before he can resist closes it shut. Moments later, Hector emerges – only to find that it’s about an hour earlier.
Development and end
Looking at his residence through the binoculars, Hector sees himself from earlier in the movie. He has returned to a point in time when there exists a double of himself; the scientist calls the earlier version Hector #1 and the time-traveled version Hector #2. Hector #2 feels somewhat jealous of this other man, his former self, in his own house with his wife. The scientist explains to him the principle of time travel, and emphasizes how imperative it is that Hector #1 follows the same time line and gets into the time machine, for otherwise his life as he knows it will be over and the scientist’s career is over. Presumably, this is because there will be two Hectors from then on. Hector #2 leaves the scientist’s compound in a small white car he borrows, and drives past a young woman on her bicycle (Barbara Goenaga), who he recognizes as the undressing woman. He stops to think, but gets bumped off the road by a red truck and crashes into a tree. His head injured by the crash, he removes the bandage from his arm and wraps it around his head. Seeing his reflection in the rear view mirror, he begins to realize that he is the bandaged man who has stabbed his pre-time-travel self. The woman comes over and asks if he is okay. He realizes that he is now responsible for making Hector #1 follow the same course of events, so that his own timeline can persist. He steals the scissors the woman uses to fix his bandage (she’s a hairdresser). With combined persuasion and intimidation, he leads her into the woods across his home and forces her to remove her clothes. When his double, Hector #1, arrives he stabs him in the arm with the scissors and scares him off, the same way he recalls being scared off.
But then he hears the woman scream and goes back to find her gone. He sees the lights at his house turned on, so he chases her there, presumably to calm her down and stop her from calling the police. He chases her to the roof and when he tries to grab her he pulls her to her death. However, looking down he sees it’s his wife who has died, and decides that he cannot leave things as they are and must enter the time machine again. Remembering Hector #1, he asks the scientist over the walkie-talkie to make something up to convince Hector #1 to get into the time machine. He takes the car his wife returned and himself goes back to the lab at the top of the hill to go back in time.
By the scientist’s attempts to sabotage his time travel, he realizes there’s more to the scientist’s story. He makes the scientist reveal that Hector #2 wasn’t the first to emerge from the machine. It was Hector #3 (whom he is about to become), who told him to act surprised at Hector #2’s arrival just seconds later. A while later, sounding desperate over the walkie-talkie, Hector #3 told him that all has failed, and that he should prevent Hector #2 from time-travelling again at all costs. Hearing the police sirens, Hector #2 decides to do it anyway.
Having become Hector #3, he borrows a red truck to go after Hector #2. He bumps him off the road, but crashes his own vehicle. He talks to the scientist, telling him all is lost. The woman, escaping bandaged Hector #2, walks into him and lets out a scream. He calms her down, sits down and falls asleep. She wakes him up some time later telling him she saw a house—Hector’s house—nearby. She helps him there and, leaving him resting in the kitchen, goes upstairs to check the house. Hector’s wife then comes to the kitchen, telling him that a bandaged man is breaking into their house and that she has called the police.
Hector realizes it’s not his wife Hector #2 is going to kill, and that he must make sure the other woman looks like his wife, so that Hector #2 gets convinced to travel in time again. He hides his wife, and then goes upstairs to make everything go exactly as he remembers. He cuts the woman’s hair shorter and wraps her with his wife’s jacket. He then takes his wife far across the lawn, and they sit there waiting for the rest of the scene to unfold.
Best Picture at 2007 Fantastic Fest (USA)
Gold Medal of Jury Award Competition in 2007 Fantastic Fest (USA)
SIlver Medal of Audience Award Competition in 2007 Fantastic Fest (USA)