Residents of an enclosed neighborhood in the middle of Mexico DF are shocked by a violent crime, and for one resident in particular, young Alejandro, the drama is ratcheted up when he encounters the lone kid who escaped the event and is hiding out within the neighborhood's borders.
Daniel Giménez Cacho,
April, 1940. Manolo, 16 years old, and Jesus, who is just 8, are taken by their older brother Pepe, a lieutenant in the Army, to a sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis, ... See full summary »
Francisco Goya (1746-1828), deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He's living with his ... See full summary »
Year 1974, Spain. Felipe (Fernando Ramallo) is a teenager who travels with Lorenzo (Antonio Resines), his widowed father. Their only property is the Citröen DS with which they go from one ... See full summary »
Emilio Martínez Lázaro
Ramiro Forteza, a goalkeeper in the Spanish Premier League, is forced by the rigors of the Civil War and the postwar period to earn a living in small villages, challenging the locals to ... See full summary »
Set in '50s Spain, a young man (Sanz) leaves the army and looks for a job so he and his fiancée (Verdu) can get married. He rents a room from a widow (Abril), and shortly begins a torrid ... See full summary »
Angela and her young son Guille travel to the big city to see Leo, her father and the boy's grandfather, when he suddenly takes ill. However, they arrive to discover that he has just passed... See full summary »
Ourense, Spain, 1940. Every time that Elena locks the door, she locks her secrets. Her husband Ricardo spend years hidden in his house with his children (Elenita and Lorenzo), trying to ... See full summary »
In 1944 falangist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she's a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.Written by
The film is shot in shades of green, the color of nature and the forest. Notably, Ofelia wears green throughout the film. See more »
The instructions tell Ofelia to turn the hourglass over when the door opens, but she waits until she has entered the Pale Man's domain. See more »
A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world. She dreamed of blue skies, soft breeze, and sunshine. One day, eluding her keepers, the Princess escaped. Once outside, the brightness blinded her and erased every trace of the past from her memory. She forgot who she was and where she came from. Her body suffered cold, sickness, and pain. Eventually, she died. However, her father, the King, always knew...
See more »
The two "Stick Insects" are credited as Cheech and Chong, after which it says "MAY THEY REST IN PEACE". See more »
Everyone's been raving about this. My opinion doesn't differ too much. It did however suffer slightly from the overwhelmingly high expectations I'd developed based on how brilliant everyone said it was, and the whole "20min ovation at Cannes" thing. Really, who stands for that long? That said, it's an amazing work.
Skipping the plot recap (find the briefest synopsis you can if you need to be filled in), I'll go straight to the tech specs. I'm not a huge Del Toro fan, Cronos was interesting but lacked something for me. Mimic was dross. Hellboy was enjoyable and Ron Perlman is always great on screen. But here, the director really outdoes himself. By far. He has wrapped together some amazing elements and somehow maintains a balance, that doesn't tip into the mundane or the ridiculous for a moment. And this is no mean feat. The story is part historical drama, part fantasy, part family melodrama. When it dips out of the fantasy, it still enchants.
Sergi Lopez and Maribel Verdú really drive the story in the historical drama scenes. I haven't seen Lopez in anything other than a film called Lisbon, in which he played a character so completely opposite from the Captain. He is a fierce and terrifying guy but actually comes across as sympathetic in a couple of scenes. Verdu is incredible as Mercedes, the head housekeeper (or something) who is Ofelia's closest friend in the house. The scenes with these characters and the civil war subplot never fail to hold your attention. Ivana Baquero is excellent as the main character Ofelia, her performance is very mature and believable and she shares some beautiful scenes with her mother and Mercedes.
When the fairy tale elements return, it's astounding how naturally they fit into the story. I think that is the real magic of this film. The war drama and the fairy tale stem so naturally from each other.
One thing that most reviews haven't mentioned is the violence. I think it's been firmly established that this is an adult's fairytale, but at times it is a very intense and brutal film. There are a couple of scenes in particular which are very disturbing and difficult to watch. These do not distract from the tone and theme of the film however so they don't seem exploitative at all. If you are squeamish, it may get a bit much for you.
A final and obvious point I spose I can't get away without making: the set design, costumes and effects are superb. That's all.
I was perhaps expecting a little more fantasy, but the unique blend of genres is absolutely compelling. There wasn't a false note anywhere or a plot hole, which are too often present in fantasy films. I can't recall a good, original fantasy film from recent years. Fortunately this blows MirrorMask out of the water. It doesn't share any of the contrivances, vagueness or ineffectual characters with that film.
I just wish I'd seen it without already having read so much. I've tried very hard to not reveal any plot details at all as it does go to some surprising and unexpected places. Fortunately most of the reviews have done the same. I'd urge anyone with the chance to see it to do so immediately, and try not to read too much more.
534 of 675 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this