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Pan's Labyrinth

02/15/07

  07:14:52 pm, by Nimble   , 314 words  
Categories: Reviews, Movies

Pan's Labyrinth

An intriguing movie that's pretty hard to categorize. The movie winds its way through the Franco-led fascist period in Spain's history, following a mother late in her pregnancy and her daughter off to see the captain that the mother is now wed to in the revolutionist-bordered frontier. Through this a fantasy story is woven around the girl protagonist, which you could clearly categorize as hallucination or overactive imagination if you wanted to, but which seems to leave more than a zero trace in the "real world" story.

The movie is done entirely in Spanish, and is subtitled, which I was not expecting. It's rated 14A for good reason: there is some very personal violence in it.

The fantasy component is utterly amazing in how seamless its transition with the real world is. Things are still muddy, going down dark stairwells is dark and rainy, pressing a chalk outline rumbles open a small stone door, and getting at the stomach contents of a giant frog is suitably disgusting. The understated and very well-done special effects extend to the best portrayal of patching up a cut face and then using liquor for antiseptic I think I've ever seen.

The interwoven stories are each interesting in their own right. Things go from okay-bad to worse in each, though hope seems tantalizingly close. The ending is either very sad or quite happy, depending on which take on reality you've been ascribing to the movie elements all along.

The only real trouble I had with the movie was the fantasy feast scene. I don't get the motivation for eating in the first place. If they'd starved her a lot, maybe I'd understand.

Not much in the way of easter eggs, but at some point in the credits, if I managed this bit of translation right, the fairies that got chomped were named 'Cheech' and 'Chong' :)

A very good movie.

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