By Samuel Isenberg, Senior
Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fantasy that shows that reality can sometimes be darker than fiction. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film follows a young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her pregnant mother in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. The film follows Ofelia’s fantastical adventures with fauns and fairies; the movie’s main focus is the warzone that Ofelia is surrounded, and constantly contrasts her fictional monsters to the real monster that she lives with, Captain Vidal (Sergi López).
The film triumphs as a statement on why practical effects should still have a place in cinema. Unlike most films at the time, the movie does not rely on CGI, using it sparingly throughout the film. The horrific appearance of the monsters felt alive that they would not have had the same energy if they were created using CGI.
The movie also excels at creating a parallel between the fictional monsters and the horrors of reality and wartime. The movie does not hesitate to show the brutality of the Captain, from his engagement with the guerrilla forces in the surrounding area, to the farmers who happen to be traveling through the area. Sergi López does an excellent job portraying the Captain’s ruthless personality.
The acting from Ivana Baquero sets a high standard for child actors as she acts around her more seasoned adult counterparts. Not only does she exceed as a child actress, but also outshines some of her fellow actors on screen, bringing further emotion depth in an already dramatic movie.
Pan’s Labyrinth is an excellent horror thriller throughout. The film’s ability to parallel the horrors of a child’s fiction to their reality provides for a unique viewing experience, perfect for a mature audience.
I gave this film 4.5 out of 5 stars.