Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crimson Peak

Movie Name: Crimson Peak
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Jonathan Hyde, Bruce Gray, Emily Coutts
Genre: Drama, Horror, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis & Review:
Guillermo Del Toro has followed his big sci-fi spectacle "Pacific Rim" with a decidedly smaller and somber endeavor, one that speaks highly of his taste for gothic and dark stories. The film focuses on the story of Edith Cushing, a young american writer, who in the 18th century suffers the loss of her mother at a young age. Edith is haunted by visions of ghosts, and that has shaped a lot of her writings. Her father, a wealthy but self made man, is protective of her, as his her friend and wannabe suitor, Dr. Alan McMichael. When the British Sharpe siblings come to town, Edith is enamored by the handsome Thomas, who is looking for investors for his drilling invention, one he claims will make the process of digging for the red clay from his property a lot faster and profitable. When Edith's father learns more of the intents of the siblings, he unexpectedly is murdered and Edith agrees to marry Thomas and follow him to England, specifically his property that goes by the name of Crimson Peak.
Guillermo Del Toro has a specific universe of his own. He's a writer and director who creates universes filled with a mythology that is unique, populated with ghouls, and creatures that are simultaneously magical and dangerous. "Crimson Peak" larks back to ghost stories of the 30s, 40s and 50s, giving it however an extra dimension that is simultaneously more sensual and also violent. The film is at its core a yarn about characters that aren't really what they seem to be, with the ghosts and supernatural giving it an extra layer of interest. The film lives of the rapport between the core characters, and also of the somberness of the majestic house (and production design), that functions as an extra character on its own. The actors all excel in their performances, particularly Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain, while the production design from Thomas Sanders (who also worked in the glorious "Bram Stoker's Dracula" from Francis Coppola), and art direction of Brandt Gordon are equally phenomenal. A special highlight should also go to the fantastic costumes of Kate Hawley, which give an extra dimension of ethereal versus shadow in the way these characters come to life. This is a film that indeeds lives from the junction of all these talents, to bring to life a classic story of "whodunit" in a way that is engaging and entertaining. A good film worth watching.