In this well-received debut pic, Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo helms, scripts & even takes a major supporting role in a twisty time-travel fable. (He also earned a possible Stateside remake with some snazzy talent already attached.) The story follows an ordinary Joe who slowly comes to realize that the phantom figure he’s been following (or is it following him?) just might be . . . himself, a doppelgänger living on a slightly delayed parallel time line. The plot unwinds forward & back in a manner that’s pleasing & puzzling, cresting with a great moment-of-recognition cue that’s visually keyed to the (re)appearance of a blood-stained bandage. But after achieving this midpoint peak, the cat’s-cradle metaphysics begin to collapse. And by the finale, Vigalondo gives in with a tacit admission of defeat that ignores too many of the story’s implications.
DOUBLE-BILL: While Christopher Nolan’s MEMENTO/’00 doesn’t involve time travel, he does find better answers to some similarly daunting time-weave continuity hurdles.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: To see how much difference a little bit of time travel can make in a story, try the brilliantly funny, deliriously silly goof on everything STAR TREK, GALAXY QUEST/’99. Why scripter David Howard hasn’t found more work in Hollywood is something of a sad mystery.