Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Crimson Peak (2015)

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunman, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Jonathan Hyde

In 1887, Edith (Wasikowska), the daughter of a wealthy American businessman (Beaver), longs to sell her book of ghost stories inspired by the visions she had as a child of her mother's ghost warning her of 'Crimson Peak'. One day, she meets Thomas (Hiddleston), an English baronet seeking investors for his mining invention who lives with his eccentric sister Lucille (Chastain). The pair become romantically involved, even with the disapproval of her childhood friend Alan (Hunnam).

One of del Toro's more artistic films, similar to his The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth offerings, is really a well-planned lesson in filmmaking. It's wonderfully made, beautifully designed (surprisingly from a new collection of artists rather than his accumulated regulars) and the plot grows over time but there are still elements that don't entirely ring true and the split-second moments of violence are overtly bloody.

What del Toro achieves best is assembling a cast that harks back to the melodramatic, gothic tales of the black and white era. Hiddleston is a perfect example of an actor with the same charisma as actors like Laurence Olivier and George Sanders while Chastain's resemblance to Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca is delicious. It's a nice surprise among the torture porn of the day while not being the greatest thing we've ever seen; del Toro fans will enjoy regardless.


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