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Film / Los Cronocrimenes

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Los Cronocrímenes (English: Timecrimes) is a 2007 Spanish science fiction film, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, and starring Karra Elejalde, Bárbara Goenaga and Vigalondo himself.

Hector is moving into a new house. While his wife, Clara, is out buying dinner, Hector sees something in the woods behind the house and goes to investigate. He finds an unconscious, naked woman, and is then attacked by a faceless man in a black coat. Fleeing further into the woods, Hector takes refuge in a seemingly-empty laboratory, and meets the one technician remaining on the premises after-hours. The technician convinces Hector to hide in a machine—as suggested by the film's title, this device turns out to be a Time Machine that sends Hector an hour into the past.

Then, it gets worse.


This film provides examples of:

  • Bandaged Face: The mysterious masked man, as seen in the poster, has his face covered in pink bandages. It's Hector 2, who suffered a head wound during a car accident, and used the bloodstained bandages for his head.
  • Brick Joke: After finding out the man in bandages is the future protagonist, several key plot points are revealed to be either due to luck, chance or the stupidity of the characters; Hector 2's looking back at Hector 1 is guessed, and only happens because of repeated attempts and luck; the young girl's involvement is entirely due to her kindness and chance; Hector 2's stupidity causes him to mistake the girl for his wife and accidentally kill her, which is revealed to be crucial to closing the time loop.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Before going to investigate the woman in the forest, Hector is repeatedly established to be a lazy lump of a man. He arrives at his home with groceries spilling out of the open trunk of his car, takes a nap in the afternoon, tries to get his wife to answer the phone while she is doing yard work, and then acts liking picking up dinner is too exhausting of a task for him.
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  • Future Me Scares Me: Or, more precisely, Future Me stabs Present Me in the arm with scissors, and chases Present Me around a forest, causing Present Me to end up in the time machine in the first instance.
  • Genre Blind: Hector is clearly unfamiliar with even the concept of time travel, and seems to regard his past self as a completely separate person. He gets smarter pretty quickly though.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Hector remarks that the woman in the forest is beautiful shortly before making her up to look like his wife and sending her to her death.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Adhered to thoroughly.
  • Male Gaze: played with; used as a MacGuffin.
  • Minimalist Cast: The cast consists of Hector, Clara, the bandaged man (who is Hector), the girl on the road, the man who runs Hector off of the road (who is also Hector), and the technician.
  • Mood Whiplash: The final scene is very bleak. Then the credits roll, with Blondie's "Picture This" playing over them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The beautiful Barbara Goenaga spends a lot of her screentime naked, though under very creepy circumstances.
  • My Future Self and Me: Three Hectors interact with each other.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The woman in the forest gets involved purely as a good samaritan and ends up getting terrified, brutalized and murdered as a result.
  • No Name Given: The woman in the forest and the scientist are never named.
  • Now What?: It is indeed very interesting what Hector is going to say to the police arriving during the very last scene regarding the presence of the dead body and his extremely bruised face. Not that he seemed to care much by then, anyway.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Observing the girl stripping nude is quite surprising to the audience (as well as to the hero) at first. The scene starts to make (some) sense only later, when we switch the perspective and get the bigger picture.
  • The Reveal: A few of them.
  • Shameful Strip: The woman in the forest is forced to strip by Hector, purely because he already saw it happen and needs to keep the time loop stable.
  • Stable Time Loop: How time travel works in the film. Most events in the film have no author. Hector must do them because he saw them done earlier.
  • Temporal Paradox: Of the "ontological paradox" variety. The whole film. Essentially, Hector 3 is the one who gets the whole thing started, but Hector 1 has to have gone back in time to make a Hector 3 in the first place.
  • Tricked Out Time: What Hector probably thinks he's doing. In reality, though...
  • Wham Line: "You weren't the first to leave the machine."
  • You Already Changed the Past: The central premise.

Alternative Title(s): Timecrimes


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