Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (Movie Review)

Everything you've heard about this film is true.

It's haunting. It's violent. It's a fairytale for grownups.

And it is possibly one of the best films you'll ever see that posits a war in the backdrop.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) takes place during the immediate aftermath of the Spanish Civil War — which happened to also overlap with WW II. It chronicles the nightmarish fantasy world of a young girl, Ofelia, (amazingly well-played by Ivana Baquero) whose mother has remarried a captain in Francisco Franco's fascist army. The captain has located Ofelia and her now-pregnant mother to a mill in the Spanish countryside, where he and his men are attempting to sniff out those few remaining guerrilla "Republicans" (believe it or not, the "good" guys of this conflict).

Tragedy surrounds Ofelia on all sides, causing her to retreat to an underworld in which she is the lost princess. The resulting visual effects are haunting, reminding me oftentimes of one of Spain's most noted 20th century artists (and a personal favorite of mine) — Salvador Dali.

Beautiful. Sad. And oftentimes a bit too bloody for my tastes. There were even some scenes that required more suspension of disbelief that I like to allot for a film (and I'm not talking about the fairy tale portion — rather, stretches that occur in scenes taking place in the "real" world). Otherwise, it's no wonder Pan's Labyrinth was so highly praised this past awards season.

See it. If you haven't already.



Beth said...

Dying to see this. My only regret is I didn't catch it on the big screen. Thanks for the good review.

Stacy said...

This sounds good. Ofelia? really, not Ophelia? Curious, love that name.

blueblanket said...

One of my favorite movies from last year. I was rooting for it to take Best Foreign Film and booed when it lost.

michele said...

It is a great film! I watched in on the big screen and then bought it for the small screen because it's one of those movies that I can watch over and over and still get something new out of it.

I'm keeping an eye open for an opportunity to teach it - I think it would generate some really lively discussion!

Lee said...

Loved it...but that bottle scene haunts me to this day.

disgruntled world citizen said...

guess i'll netflix it.

Pamela said...

daughter said it haunted her

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Beth - Let me know what you think after you see it.

Stacy - Yep. At least that's the way it was spelled in the subtitles.

BB - I don't understand how it could've lost.

Michele - I agree. Let me know how that works out.

Lee - There were some scenes that I thought about for days after watching the film. I'm still not sure some of them needed to be so graphic...

DWC - Let me know what you think.

Pamela - She's not alone there.

Mystic Wing said...

Man, do I ever agree with this review. One of the best films I've seen in ages. The academy award winner—Lives of Others—was very good, but this was better, I think.

I've watched it five times now, and am still mesmerized by it.