Taking its cue from such films as Primer and Pi, Timecrimes is that rare time travel movie that actually seems to explain how this phenomenon is possible. The movie begins simply enough with a man named Hector looking at the forest in his backyard through some binoculars. He sees a naked woman and, since he is a man, decides to investigate. Upon doing so he finds the woman dead and at this point Hector is stabbed in the arm with a pair of scissors. Fearing for his life, Hector runs to a mansion where he is rescued by a scientist and soon discovers that he has traveled forward in time and he's able to see himself.
Suddenly, we start seeing multiple scenes, from multiple angles and perspectives, and it is here that the time travel element of this sci-fi terror fest is put into its proper perspective. Try as he might, Hector never seems to be able to get ahead of himself or back to where he was before all of these events started. Add to this the whole multiverse idea of more than one Hector being in existence, and one soon gets the idea that Timecrimes is going for something much greater than merely being a Back to the Future retread. As a viewer I found that I never stopped wanting this character to be okay, to have everything return to normal, even though I knew that every one of his actions pushed him further from this goal.
At its heart Timecrimes is a movie that is examines human behavior via the time travel aesthetic. While I was completely baffled at times over what was happening, director Nacho Vigalongo never seems to let the viewer off the hook. This isn't to say that this movie is dyspeptic or overly hard to follow, but one would be hard pressed to find a current film that challenges movie goers in such a visceral, cinematic and entertaining way.