Pan's Labyrinth - Film Review
Pan's Labyrinth - Film Review
Pan’s Labyrinth is set in Spain in 1944. The Civil War is long over; only a few pesky guerrillas remain to be mopped up in the wooded hills.
Ofelia, an 11-year-old girl, accompanies her heavily pregnant mother to a remote army camp high up in the woods. The mother is joining her army captain of a husband.
He is not Ofelia’s father, as she is keen to point out to anyone who cares to listen. The girl and the man take an instant dislike to one another – as often happens in such circumstances.
A difficult pregnancy follows and the mother grows weaker and bedridden, while Ofelia frets and falls under the spell of a flying nymph she believes to be a fairy who introduces her to Pan, a fantastical creature who challenges the girl, who he believes to be a princess, to carry out three daring tasks.
So begins the incredible Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by the visionary Director, Guillermo del Toro.
This is a Spanish movie with definite Mexican roots and is fully in Spanish too, so you will need to make sure that the subtitles are switched on if you don’t speak Spanish, both on the DVD and your remote control, but don’t for a second let that put you off.
There isn’t heaps of dialogue and what there is, is snappy, easy to follow, and crystal clear to read, and there is still time to study the faces to look into those eyes and see what the characters are really thinking and feeling.
If you haven’t watched a subtitled movie before please give it a try, and give it a chance. You will not be disappointed.
This movie is part war film, part fantasy, part thriller, part magic, part adult fairy tale, and that makes it different to anything else out there. It is not a film for small children either and indeed comes with a 15 certificate. I have seen it described as a fairy tale for adults and that is about right.
All the threads of the story run happily side-by-side and the pace is unrelenting. The movie grabs you right from the start and the Captain soon demonstrates that he is a sadistic killer (Kill them all! seems to be his catchphrase) as Ofelia's worst fears and nightmares prove to be true.
Sometimes a film is released boasting super dialogue, great cinematography, superb music, wonderful casting, (every single member is perfectly cast, and very memorable too), and most importantly contains a fabulous story.
When a film encapsulates all those attributes it could be fairly described as a masterpiece. Pan’s Labyrinth is precisely that.
If you haven’t yet seen it make sure you get yourself a copy. It is one of those pictures like Shawshank that can be watched time and again, and a film that one rarely tires of.
It was first released in Britain in 2006 and garnered many awards including Best Film Not in the English Language, as well as three BAFTA awards, and every award it won was fully merited.
It can be bought here for a ridiculously small amount of money and would make a great present too.
It runs for just shy of 2 hours and includes a cracking ending as you might expect, where Ofelia… but of course I couldn’t possibly tell you that, now could I?
Is it one of the best films released in the 21st century? Yes it is, in my opinion. Watch it yourself and make up your own mind. Enjoy!
And to give you a big flavour of this fab film here's the official trailer: