The past few years have seen a number of very good, low-budget science fiction films, including Richard Schenkman's "The Man from Earth," Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore's "Special" and Shane Carruth's "Primer." None of these is a truly remarkable film, but together they indicate to me an encouraging trend in sci-fi filmmaking. Cinematic sci-fi is usually confused for science fiction tout court. And since sci-fi films are known best for their obsessive fans, flashy fx and tedious allegory, the genre as a whole has struggled to be taken seriously. But, while these films employ some of the same well-worn sci-fi tropes we see everywhere in Hollywood schlock - the time traveler, the superhero, the Methuselah - they aspire to something much higher than the lazy quotation of familiar narrative forms.
"Timecrimes," the feature-length debut of Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo, is the most interesting of this recent spate of films, and a good illustration of what I have in mind.