First time Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo's festival darling Timecrimes is an extremely engaging reworking of Primer by way of U-Turn. I'm not going to say anything about the plot because the less you know going in the better the film plays. I watched two science fiction films this weekend, this one and The Day The Earth Stood Still (Klaa2) and find myself once again marveling that quality does not scale with budget. Coincidentally, both films opened the same weekend in December 2008 with Klaa2 grossing $30,480,000 playing on 3560 screens. Timecrimes opened on 2 screens and grossed $4,351. It sort of boggles the mind how the film business works some days. In this example, we have a potential blockbuster costing $80M to make and starring a raft of Hollywood stars and starlets verses a tiny Spanish language art house thriller made for under $2M. From an investment perspective, the blockbuster wins hands down with the final worldwide theatrical tally clocking in at $230M for Klaa2 and $530K for Hector3 (an inside Timecrimes joke... you'll see).
I guess that's why we exist in a way... as a conduit for the little film to find a slightly larger audience. If we looked at the box office and used it exclusively to define what we carried and in what quantity, our purchasing would skew off the rails. We bought 6 Timescrimes for the FBW and probably a couple for the FBE. To mirror the comparative theatrical performance of Klaa2, we'd need 2603 copies in the FBW. We've got 12 (and 2 Blu-Ray). Hindsight may prove that having 6 Timecrimes is four too many, but I don't think we should care. Financially, every single accountant in the world would advise spending the money on 6 extra copies of Klaa2, but interestingly, they would also be wrong because films like Timecrimes is at the very heart of what it is that the Film Buff should, can and hopefully does do. If we do our jobs, films like this one, Let The Right One In, Man on Wire, Frozen River, Happy-Go-Lucky, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I've Loved You So Long, Ashes of Time, Silent Light, My Winnipeg, Encounters at the End of the World, and yes, even Joe's genre bloodbaths, might just make their way into the hands of an audience that would otherwise not get to see them.
If you are looking for what it is the we offer our customers and by extension our community, you don't have to look any further than this. We also need to remember that our clients and customers are supporting this business model. We aren't saving the world, but in our own little way, we are certainly raising the bar a tad and that's something.