Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes): can say almost nothing about the plot without giving the film away – sci-fi / time travel / thriller. Being Spanish, it has a slight am-dram / soap opera feel to it with the suspenseful soundtrack and ‘passionate’ melodramatic acting. The story is tight; yet more proof that thriller/horror films don’t all have to be dumb. There’s a load of nice small details that make the plotlines fit together so tightly – one girl even has a Schrodinger’s Cat t-shirt! What I enjoyed most about this was the authenticity; the characters are realistic, settings are eerie, tense moments are drawn out, and even the masked killer fumbles around looking vulnerable and unsure at times – as opposed to the Hollywood stone-cold killer – all kept the film grounded. Triangle blew me away when I watched it, but it has borrowed heavily from Timecrimes, and unfortunately hampered my viewing of the film a little. For a cast and crew of relatively unknowns doing no budget sci-fi thriller this punches far, far above its weight.
Napoleon Dynamite: follows the mundane life of a dorky student in rural Idaho over a couple of weeks… doesn’t sound gripping, and it’s not, but it’s still well worth watching. Straight from the awesome opening credits you know this has potential. Because nothing much happens in the story department it’s all down to the characters to push the film forward. Nerdy Kip, delusional uncle Rico, apathetic Pedro, coy Deb and manly Rex are all fantastic. Then there’s Napoleon. John Herder absolutely nails his character; the mannerisms, accent, attitude, partial blindness, heavy breathing and the look, especially the so-bad-they’re-good T-shirts. Everything Napoleon does is so funny because of the teenage angst oozing out of every pore – Hess & Herder have truly created one of the coolest geeks in fiction. The low-fi style and the lack of movement or structure in the story are still huge pitfalls. The elevator music is one of many nods towards ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’, which is absolutely no bad thing. First time round I totally didn’t get this and couldn’t understand why it was a big deal, upon re-watching it several times it just gets better and better.