Friday, 30 November 2012

The Real Looper (Re-review)

Yesterday I put together an archive page of all the things I'd written on this blog. Whilst I did this I read back through some old blog posts and realised how bad some of them were. Here I am wanting to promote my blog and it has some terrible reviews. So, I've decided to re-review a few. Particularly ones on films that I want people to read about. This film was the first film that I reviewed after I underwent my first major blog redesign. Suddenly I had star ratings and pretty pictures. Today's film looks at time travel but in a slightly different way. Prepare to get your head around paradoxes, this is Timecrimes or Los Cronocrimenes. (The original review, should you wish to read it, is here)

Hector (Karra Elejalde) is a fairly average man who lives in Spain with his wife Clara (Candela Fern├índez). He is the sort of man who does the shopping at the weekend and then goes for a nap. His life is riddled with giant problems like dropping the phone, not quite being able to see what is behind a bush, and the car boot being broken. When his wife goes out, he ventures into the trees next to his house to investigate something odd he spotted through his binoculars: a stripping girl (B├írbara Goenaga). Suddenly, out of no where, he is attacked by a large man in a trench coat whose face is covered in pink bandages. After fleeing for his life he finds a building and is convinced into a strange machine by a man (Nacho Vigalondo) there. This machine just so happens to be a time machine. Hector gets zapped (or splashed?) back around an hour and begins the adventure of a lifetime (or three) in which he is told he must avoid causing a paradox. But it seems Hector has issues following orders and who knows what his actions may cause.

And everyone thought Hector was 'armless.

With only four characters, only two of which have actual names, this is certainly an example of less is more. Karra Elejalde is, essentially, a solo performer.  Occasionally there is another character to interact with, particularly the young man who runs the machine, but on a whole, Elejalde's Hector is not just the centre of the film but also an incredible character with an amazing journey. Elejalde take us with his character through a complex and detailed development which is constantly fascinating. At no point is Hector not engaging. We see him change from an every day man with nothing of interest into a darker character that is determined and strong. This is one of the most captivating character developments film has to offer and it simply goes to show that one should never ignore world cinema. There is no way to stress enough how great Elejalde's performance is and, no doubt, one of the main reasons the remake is taking so long to put together; no Hollywood actor could live up to Elejalde's already set standard.

Psycho mocks boy with glasses.

At no point should you think that the only major achievement here is Elejalde's. Nacho Vigalondo, the man who runs the time machine did something equally, if not more, impressive. He wrote, directed, and co-starred in the film. (Yes, despite being an unnamed character, he's still the second most crucial.) Now, this is no new feat by itself. However, the simply complexity of the film is in terms of both writing and directing. Time travel is not easy and there a a million different things you can do with it but somehow a lot of time travel films have common themes and ideas. Timecrimes is different. It is an original take on a complicated idea and will leave your brain racking for hours. There is simply no conceivable for one to get their head around the very concept of a casual time loop or a predetermined paradox. But the general idea of what happens is so basic that a five year old could get it. Some more intelligent viewers find this harder to accept because they want answers to the paradoxes and thus enjoyment of the actual story is lost. Forget answering questions, this film is brilliant as it is.

A near flawless sci-fi thriller. Sadly advertised - and edited - slightly more as a horror which may put people off but trust this humble reviewer when he says it is worth watching. It is less than an hour and a half so it will take up a fraction of your time so why not give it a watch. If you dare complain about subtitled films, we may have issues being friends. Just saying.

Best Bit? The most famous scene in the film. The scene in which two Hector's essentially play peek-a-boo. Both times. It is a masterpiece of not just time travel films but films in general.

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