Pan’s Labyrinth – Film Review

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Spectacular! I watched this film without any sound and with subtitles and it was incredible.

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro (known for the Hellboy franchise) and set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1944, this is a fantasy heavily influenced by fairytales.

Also known as `El Laberinto del Fauno’ or `The Faun‘s Labyrinth’ it has all the standard fairy tale stuff:

  • Little girl, Ofélia as the hero. Check.
  • The hero has to perform trials to succeed. Check.
  • Mythical Monsters. Check.
  • Evil Step-parent. Check.
  • Magic. Check.

But this film is more than just a fairytale parable…

Not only is it stunningly beautiful, in its own dark way, but the mystery is engrossing and played right out until the end.  You’ll also find that the militant, fascist environment of the household in which our hero lives,  plays just as much a part of the story as the fantasy environment in which she wanders.  Everything in this film is important, everything is intertwined and in the conclusion you realise the significance of the tasks Ofelia must perform.

I’m hardly surprised that this film won so many awards; Ivana Baquero gives a great performance here, as does Maribel Verdú who plays a noticeably excellent role as Mercedes.  Ofélia and the faun come together to form an unlikely pair (the faun’s true motives unclear until the end) and the story is well written and utterly enthralling.

The only drawback for some non-spanish speakers may be the language problem. Personally I’m quite happy to watch subtitled films, as long as the film is engrossing enough but some people are put off by foreign language films and will miss out on gems such as this one.

16 thoughts on “Pan’s Labyrinth – Film Review

  1. This is just awesome. But I wonder if I’d find it interesting because of the language barrier. Hm. I’ll rent it out as soon as possible. BTW, I followed you at twitter.

  2. Yes, it is a stunning film! Have you seen THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (El espinazo del diablo)? Another gorgeous and richly infused film — part ghost story, part coming-of-age tale, atmospherically ethereal and firmly grounded all at once. That’s the one that got me hooked on del Toro’s work!

    • Ooh, I haven’t heard of that one. I’ll have to add it to my rental DVD list. Thanks for the suggestion. After watching Pan’s Labyrinth, I’m certainly going to look up more of his films. 🙂

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