In 1535, an alchemist builds an extraordinary mechanism encapsulated into a small golden device. The invention, designed to convey eternal life to its owner, survives its maker until 1997, when it shows up with an antiques dealer. Fascinated with the strange device, Gris (Luppi) doesn't note that there's more than one person looking for it. The promise of eternal life has become an obsession for old and sick Mr. De la Guardia (Brook). He and his nephew (Perlman) will do anything to get the Chronos Invention. Written by
Maximiliano Maza <email@example.com>
The newspaper death notice for Jesus Gris gives his dates as 1940 to 1997. That makes him the same age as his actor, Federico Luppi (b.1936), when the film was being made. See more »
When Jesús searches for Aurora after she has taken the Cronos, as he walks through two doors, he stops. Behind him, reflected in the glass of the door, is crew and equipment. See more »
[over the opening sequence]
In 1536, fleeing from the Inquisition, the alchemist Uberto Fulcanelli disembarked in Veracruz, Mexico. Appointed official watchmaker to the Viceroy, Fulcanelli was determined to perfect an invention which would provide him with the key to eternal life. He was to name it... the Cronos device. 400 years later, one night in 1937, part of the vault in a building collapsed. Among the victims was a man of strange skin, the color of marble in moonlight. His chest mortally ...
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Dedicated to the memory of Josefina Camberos See more »
Interesting and intriguing take on the vampire genre
Before Guillermo del Toro came to Hollywood to make big budget thrillers such as Mimic and Blade II, he was in Mexico making movies that are truly unique and filled with tension. His directorial debut, Cronos, is a hugely original movie and take on the vampire theme. Guillermo also wrote the screenplay.
The movie opens up with a narrator telling the story of an alchemist who made a metallic, beetle like device (the Cronos) that when placed against skin, has a scorpion like stinger that stabs the person and injects a tiny amount of bloody fluid. The injections cause the alchemist to live for centuries and only dies when he is in line at a bank in Vera Cruz during an earthquake and is crushed by falling debris.
Some time later, an antique dealer, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi), discovers the Cronos device in the base of an old statue he has acquired. After wondering what the device might be for, he inadvertently sets it off and is pricked by it's stinger. The whole process of watching this happen is fascinating, and you are never quite sure if there is some sort of living insect inside the enclosure, thanks to Guillermo's David Lynch like photography and editing of the scene.
Jesus soon discovers that he has more energy and feels more youthful than he has in ages. But unbeknownst to him, there is an evil and rich old man, Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) who has been searching for years for the device. He has tracked it down to Jesus' shop and sends his simple minded nephew, Angel de la Guardia (brilliantly portrayed by Ron Perlman), to get the statue that has stored in it, the Cronos device. When the statue turns up empty, Dieter instructs Angel to get the device at any cost.
In the meantime, Jesus has become addicted to using the device. His young granddaughter has noticed him using it and decides for his own good to hide it from him. After spending time with her he realizes that maybe the sacrifices of the device, such as his wife not feeling as youthful as him, or his greedy and manic need to possess and have control of the device, are not worth the benefits.
The story is not fast paced by any means, but the development of the characters is superb. There are also slow moving scenes with huge amounts of tension, in particular a scene where Jesus is at a party where someone had cut himself and cleaned up in the bathroom. Jesus finds himself drawn to the blood that had dripped on the floor and after slowly considering it and getting his face closer to it, he has his cheek against the floor and extends his tongue and licks up the drops!
I have seen the video a couple times, but it is on DVD in region 2 PAL format only. The video is available in both subtitled and dubbed versions. I highly recommend the version with subtitles, because much of the dialogue is already in English. Ron Perlman's character for example speaks very little Spanish.
Perhaps now that Guillermo del Toro is more well known in the US, we will get a region 1 NTSC release on dvd.
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