Pan’s Labyrinth

October 10, 202183/1007592 min
Guillermo del Toro
Spain,Mexico, United States
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A special mention must go to Sergi Lopez, whose 'Captain Vidal' is indeed one of the most sadistic film creations ever seen. Yet he manages to make the audience understand why he is the way he is ... an astounding performance. Maribel Verdu's quiet but rebellious housekeeper is one of the strongest female roles I've seen in many a year, and she is supported by a wealth of talent. Young Ivana Baquero is surprisingly self-assured as 12-year-old Ofelia, and I especially liked her almost Alice-like approach to the magical creatures she encounters in the labyrinth. The icing on this warped fairy tale is Doug Jones, who gives a towering performance - and in this case literally, as well as figuratively - as the guardian of the labyrinth, a faun, full of grace and charm and latent menace. Although dubbed, his Spanish is perfect (Jones speaks not a word of the language), and his physical presence is incredibly powerful as his character teases, cajoles and harries Ofelia to fulfil her tasks. He also plays the devastatingly creepy and disgusting 'Pale Man' - a creature that almost equals Vidal in his terrorising habits.

An unseen narrator (Pablo Adán’s voiceover) tells of an underground kingdom that was devoid of lies or pain. Long ago, the young princess of the realm escaped, curious to see the world above, but was blinded by the bright sunlight and all memories of her past were erased. She eventually succumbed to the natural world as her inability to adapt to her new surroundings left her helpless. Her father, the King, remained hopeful that his daughter would return to her kingdom someday, in another place and time.


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