(El Laberinto Del Fauno)
January 17, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
Mexico / Spain / USA
After you’ve seen PAN’S LABYRINTH, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K. “Cinebanter” podcast, which is available here or at iTunes. But until then, here is a non-spoiler review.
I’m typically not a fan of fantasy films. I am not one of those people who defines movie-going as escape. And every trailer of this film highlights the scary monsters and unreality of the movie. I was surprised to find that more than half of the movie is about the Spanish army fighting rebels in the hills above a country mill where a ruthless man, Captain Vidal, has decided to live. A young girl accompanies her very pregnant mother to join the Captain after the death of her father. The mother has remarried and is about to give birth to what the Captain assumes will be a boy.
The Captain has little use for the young girl and she does her best to stay away from him. She escapes literally into the forest and figuratively into her imagination as she watches a book with blank pages begin to fill in with pictures and words.
There are incredibly scary creatures in her fantasy world, but are they scarier than Captain Vidal?
A scene that has the Captain sewing his own cheek up and then having a shot of whisky will stay with you forever.
Captain Vidal is played by Sergi Lopez, who you might recognize from WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY and DIRTY PRETTY THINGS. Mercedes, the maid who befriends Ofelia, is played by Maribel Verdu, who you probably won’t recognize as the incredible hottie who joins the teenagers on the road trip in Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN.
There was peril and a gross frog and a lumbering chase scene that had me at the edge of my seat.
This is the fourth highest rated film of all time at metacritic and obviously, that’s a bit much. 130 top ten lists? Nothing could live up to that hype and it isn’t exactly the best film of the 21st century. But the more I think about it, the more fondly I remember it.
The ending provides more questions than answers and there are many different ways to interpret what just been seen on the screen. The mark of a thoughtful piece of work.
2006 Oscar Nominations:
~~Best Foreign Film
~~Original Screenplay for Guillermo Del Toro
~~Cinematography for Guillermo Navarro
9.6 Rotten Tomatoes