Monday, January 29, 2007

Pan’s Labyrinth.

Wow. Not for the meek. Unfortunately, this film has moments of such incredible beauty, but is probably unwatchable by people sensitive to graphic violence. We’re talking about pre-Franco Spanish fascists here, and one of the main characters is one of the baddest of a bad bunch. One of the most total bastards ever portrayed on film, I think.

Briefly...little girl’s mother marries the fascist, is pregnant with his child. She and her beautiful, amazing little girl go to live with him in a house that has been commandeered from people who, unbeknownst to the fascists, are suporters of the popular resistance. Mother isn’t doing so well with the pregnancy, little girl escapes into fantasy—or does she?

The fantasy parts are SO well done. The power of the little girl’s belief in the possible. The faun (Pan is “Fauno” is Spanish) creature is brilliant. Amazing. Guillermo del Toro is the man.

The mix of the very real non-moviefied banality-of-evil violence...ordinary cruelty, and the incredible fantastic otherworld of the labyrinth and the Underworld is immaculate.

If you can stomach a little well-placed (but extreme) violence in service of the story, don’t miss this on the screen. I heard a college-age girl say—“I kind of liked it, but I could have done without the violence.” Fascists is as Fascists does, baby girl...