Review of 'El Laberinto del Fauno (Pans Labyrinth)'

pans_labyrinth.jpg Set in war-torn 1944 Spain Ofelia, a young girl, is delivered with her mother (heavily pregnant) to live in the middle of forest (and the war with the Spanish gorilla fighters) to live with her mother's new husband – A cold, unfeeling general in the Spanish army. Ofelia retreats into a fantasy world where a faun tells her that she is the forgotten princess of a magnificent kingdom. To reclaim her birthright she has to perform three tasks. The situation around her rapidly deteriorates as her tasks become more and more dangerous. A terrifically poignant and tragic tale of the loss of innocence.

This is a magnificent film that manages to touch the audience on many different levels. The scenes of absolute terror and violence are counterpointed with the scenes of fantastic wonder. Ivana Baquero as Ofelia brings a credible sense of realism to the role as events unfold around her. Ariadna Gil as Carmen, the maid who takes a liking to the young innocent also delivers a touching performance as she treads the thin line of helping the resistance and yet maintaining her position with the general.

I would not take a young child to see this film despite it's fantastic elements due to the graphic nature of some of the violence – One particular scene (early in the film) had those in the audience when I saw the film had everyone turning away in horror. Great acting, great directing, and an interesting story.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2007-01-14

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Studio: Estudios Picasso

Year: 2006

Length: 119 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by Guillermo del Toro:

Other reviewed films by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson: