In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.
Guillermo del Toro
In 1536, in Veracruz, Mexico, during the Inquisition, an alchemist builds a mysterious and sophisticated device named Cronos to provide eternal life to the owner. In the present days, the antiques dealer Jesus Gris finds Cronos hidden inside an ancient statue while cleaning it with his granddaughter Aurora. He accidentally triggers the device and soon his wife Mercedes and he note that he has a younger appearance. Out of the blue, the stranger Angel de la Guardia visits Gris's shop and buys the old statue. On the next day, Gris finds his shop trashed and Angel's card on the floor. He pays a visit to Angel that introduces him to the eccentric millionaire De la Guardia that explains the healing power and the eternal life given by Cronos. Angel is sent by De la Guardia to hunt down Gris to get Cronos no matter the costs.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In an interview included on the Criterion edition of this movie, Ron Perlman talks about how Angel was meant to speak Spanish fluently. Ron Perlman tried this, but Guillermo del Toro found his reading to be completely unusable. So, the character was changed to an expatriated American who so hates being in Mexico, that what little Spanish he speaks is deliberately spoken poorly. 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 »
Some of the most imaginative films originate in Mexico. This one is no exception. When Jesus Gris, an old antique dealer opens the base of an ancient statue, a golden object in the shape of a large beetle drops out. This mechanically activated object can clutch a human arm and inject a magical fluid which can prolong life. The early scenes, when the camera moves about the treasures in the antique shop, set the atmosphere and draw us into the story. Each piece seems to hold a special secret. When the mechanical beetle suddenly grabs at the old man's forearm, we can feel the excruciating pain as he screams out and we see the pointed legs piercing his skin. Then follows the injection by the scorpion-like tail. Terror reigns until he dislodges the device. (What a relief!). Now wait for the miracle to happen! Excellent make-up on the main character as this horror story unfolds makes it almost believable at times. The sincerity of the acting between the old man and little granddaughter who plays about the shop makes for a really warm and loving relationship. (Where do they find such wonderful child actors?). Evil is portrayed by the cruel Dieter de la Guardia and his henchmen who set out to steal this ancient invention of the alchemists. Much of the excitement of the film is provided by a chase through upper rooms and rooftops (real edge of the seat viewing!). One of the most unforgettable scenes is the close-up view of the whirring golden cogwheels inside the device. They make a cruelly fascinating and threatening sound as they wind up to do their mysterious work. Movie-goers who have a horror of hypodermic needles should perhaps give the film a miss but you brave ones will enjoy the age-old theme of searching for the secret to eternal life.
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