The last time a movie made an impression on me was about a decade ago when I saw Fargo which I proceeded to own and watch many times over. Since then, of all the movies I’ve seen, nothing comes close to Pan’s Labyrinth which is headed to my Hall of Fame.
This is close to one of the most beautiful and critically acclaimed movies that has ever been made. The end of the Spanish Civil War in the mid 1940’s serves as the backdrop for this tale of a pregnant mother who marries a Spanish military general and brings her daughter along to stay in a remote military outpost. The daughter, an avid reader of fairy tales, encounters characters and creatures which – real or imaginary – serve as a parallel to both historic events and her family life.
Serving under Franco, the sadistic and violent Army Captain, Vidal, played convincingly by Sergi López carries the film along with Ivana Baquero who plays the daughter, Ofelia. The cast also includes Ariadna Gil and Maribel Verdú.
The lighting and special effects in the movie are immaculate and the musical score fitting. From the creaky house that the family lives in to the dark hillsides where the military action takes place, everything in the movie is perfect and fitting. Although cold, dark and mysterious one one end, it manages to surprise you with some playful themes when you least expect it.
Although pitched by some reviews as a fairy tale story, the movie contains scenes of extreme violence and is not for the squeamish. You’ll literally have to look away a few times, especially when the Captain gets going.
Originally titled, El Laberinto Del Fauno, the film is written and directed by the imaginative Guillermo del Toro who ensures there is not a single dull moment in the entire film and has you rooting for a character at all times. This has already won a number of awards and I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t take home a few Oscars.
Below is the full two minute trailer and the shorter one and here is the movie poster. Here’s another movie poster. Pan’s Labyrinth is currently playing in select threatres in Toronto. Watch it if you get a chance!