Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Devil's Backbone (2001)

(This review was originally written for BUBBS back in 2006.)

After reading an enthusiastic review of Pan's Labyrinth that ranked it "up there with his two other masterpieces, The Devil's Backbone and Cronos," I found a copy of the former at Blockbuster. And what do you know, it is indeed very good. Del Toro just nails everything that should be nailed. Great cast (the kids are really good), good direction (maintains several themes without disrupting the overall mood), good use of special effects (the kind you mostly don't notice), great cinematography. And, of course, some very striking and imaginative imagery (the bomb in the courtyard, the fetuses in the jars, Santi's ghostly wound and haunting ground).

Next up is Cronos, and then (hopefully) Pan's Labyrinth. I can't believe I'd only seen Blade II and Hellboy and liked del Toro; Devil's Backbone is a much finer film that demonstrates deeper talent.

4 comments:

jeri said...

A word to the wise before you watch Pan's Labyrinth: don't expect all of what you see in the commercials. The movie is part Spanish civil war drama, part little girl's story. If you go into it knowing that, it goes over better.

I like many elements of his movies but tend to have issues with some of them too. I'd say Hellboy is my favorite, then DB and PL are tied at a bit of an ambivalent second. Haven't seen Cronos yet!

Ryan said...

I should have made a note at the end of the original review: I have since seen Cronos, Pan's Labyrinth, and Hellboy 2. Cronos is pretty unique and inventive, though not as good as DB. Pan's Labyrinth had knock-out visuals and a decent story.

redison said...

'the devil's backbone' is his best effort, i believe. haven't seen cronos yet though...

Ryan said...

I'm with you on that one, Ray, as much as I enjoy his other work.