I want to take a brief break from the A2P Cinema Recommends
Double Feature to highlight a director who I admire and one that
will be spotlighted strongly during the awards season....
Born: 1964, Mexico
His latest The Shape of Water
(his 10th film) is earning awards and praise, which I am very
happy to see for him and the films star Sally Hawkins - both of
whom are long overdue for such accolades. I do think The Shape
of Water is only a minor film for del Toro and while its great
to see him winning such praise the hope is it will draw audiences
to admire his previous work which to me is far more definitive
of the visionary filmmaker he is.
Toro at his best captures monsters that are full of sincere thoughts
emotions, thoughts and colors. He is concerned with mythological
films centered around powerful realms on the verge of ruin and
the real and fantasy horrors of childhood. All his films are filled
with vivid visual and sound detail and design. The Shape of
Water is his tenth film and I think its fair to say all have
great or rewarding qualities. Here is A2P Cinema's ranking from
favorite to least favorite
The Devil's Backbone
is a ghost? A tragedy doomed to repeat itself time and again?"
So begins The Devil's Backbone, a haunting ghost story
set among the horrific backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The
centerpiece of these two is the haunting image of a bomb that
lies unexploded on the grounds of the orphanage. This image stands
as a reminder of the presence of both the war (which they can
not escape) and of the death of boy (which stands as the guilt
they can not escape). Essentially they are find themselves as
flawed ghosts in some way and they must find a way to come together
in the face of horror. When the film reaches its climax del Toro
details that the war is not over because of the aftermath it has
left, yet a small hope lies in the final image of the boys walking
together toward an unknown future. Del Toro has made a beautifully
memorable film which blends genres and feelings of shock, terror,
dark humor, and compassion.
Crimson Peak (2015)
To me Crimson
Peak may be the most definitive Guillermo del toro film, a
filmmaker obsessed with the mythological. Filled with such rich
texture and imagination Crimson Peak is a film that is in ways
a throwback to Del toro's early gothic horror but now in the hands
of a mature filmmaker at his own artistic peak.
Toro's first feature film displayed the visions of his poetic
style within genre as well as themes of immortality.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Given more freedom after the critic and commercial success of
Pan's Labyrinth, Del toro creates something deeply personal
with this terrific sequel.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
flawlessly blends reality and dreams, and we quickly discover
that the nightmare of the story comes from the real world. Here
the fantasy is developed as a means to escape the cruel reality
of the world, but Pan's Labyrinth is not a typical film
of childhood innocence and ultimately the world of fantasy and
reality converge in a haunting finale that is exquisitely executed
by Del Toro.
Blade II (2002)
dazzling fimmaking achievement in the way del Toro morphs this
studio film into his own vision - packed with trademark signatures
and conflicted feelings. Blade 2 has grown the more I've
seen it and to me it stands as one of the very best Marvel films
Toro has never made a film with poor set or sound design and Hellboy
is further evidence. Hellboy is based off a comic book,
and you can easily see why del Toro is atrracted to this character
Pacific Rim (2013)
plenty of style and impressive visual effects here and del
creates some dazzling set pieces while clearly channeling his
love for old monster movies like Godzilla. Nothing real
thought-provoking but Pacific Rim hits on intended entertainment
The Shape of Water (2017)
Lots of beauty here and Sally Hawkins is dreamy but this one strikes
me as more hollow then most other del Toro films.
Mimic deals with ideas and thoughts that are core to del
Toro's vision and for that it is worth admiring. This just lacks
the appeal that has defined his career.