25 February 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I don't see a lot of movies... but lately I've been on a bit of a roll, with Casino Royale, Smokin' Aces and - this afternoon - Pan's Labyrinth.

I am tired and have a head cold, but I'll just say a few words about Pan's Labyrinth... it is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. Do not, under any circumstances, take your children to see this thinking that it's a cute, escapist fantasy world created in the eyes of a child or anything along the lines of the Dark Crystal or the Labyrinth of Davie Bowie fame. It is decidedly not. And even the fantastical moments (if indeed, they were a fantasy) are disturbing, fraught with fear, danger, lies and bloody violence.

There is interwoven in the obvious plot line enough symbolism, irony, and metaphor that you could literally write papers on this for the rest of any underpaid academic career. But even on the most superficially interpretive level, it's no mere tale of fairies and escapism... no, it's far deeper and far, far more tragic than that. In the end, it's more of a statement on the woes of this world - the shortcomings of adults and their ability to misuse power - as seen through the imaginations of a child, who - in the end - proves that innocence itself is stronger, braver and wiser than anyone in the grown-up world of 'real power.' She proves that the 'ridiculous' world of the imaginary is often more deserving of respect and honor than reality.

It is without a doubt, one of the most moving, horrifying, and decidedly beautiful films I've ever seen. But do not see this film unless you are prepared for no small amount of violence... it is gruesome. Tears ran down amongst the viewers without apology as the credits scrolled onscreen.

I think after this, my next movie is Little Miss Sunshine... to break the mood.


P.S. I wrote this while being high on Tylenol Cold, so don't hold the psychobabble against me, okay?


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