While the spotlight may have been stolen by Tuesday’s DVD premiere of Oscar darling Slumdog Millionaire, two other films also debuted on home video that day, both of which are worth noting, and certainly worth checking out.
Timecrimes is an intense, fascinating thriller from director Nacho Vigalando that tells the story of a man named Hector who takes an unexpected leap backwards in time. Karra Elejalde is effective as Hector, gathering up our sympathies for his plight even when his character has crossed the line of acceptable behavior, but what I found most appealing about Timecrimes was its pacing. The film is in no hurry to get from point A to point B; it reveals itself slowly, layer by layer, taking the viewer down one path, then another, then another, and each more intriguing than the last. Aside from effectively building tension, this pacing also helps us to keep up with what’s going on, which in turn magnifies the numerous surprises lurking around each and every corner. Timecrimes is shocking, exciting, and entirely satisfying.
In Special (a film both Andrew and Kurt have also offered their opinions on), Michael Rapaport stars as Les, a man who signs on as a test subject for a new medication and, as a result, starts to believe he’s developed super powers. At times, Special is a very funny film, especially early on when Les is demonstrating his ‘powers’ to those around him. But Special is more than just a comedy; it’s the portrait of a man whose lifetime of disappointment has suddenly been filled with hope and purpose, a storyline that supplies the film with a very real dramatic layer. Rapaport, whom I had only seen in supporting roles prior to Special, is superb, and the combined direction of Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore is near flawless. Made on a budget of just around a million dollars, Special may have the look and feel of a small film, but it delivers in a big, big way.
Both Timecrimes and Special are available for purchase at Amazon, and were released by Magnolia Home Entertainment.