Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sense and Sensibility

Crimson Peak (2015) - Del Toro
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Crimson Peak occupies an interesting space and time when moviegoing experience is at its lowest point in cinema history. Barely out for two weeks, I walked in to the theater where only a handful of people came out to see it on Friday night in a multiplex, by 'the director of Hell Boy and Pacific Rim' no less. It made me feel sad because it's precisely a movie that needs to be seen on a big screen. Along with Mad Max: Fury Road, this film was the only few I actually paid to see it in theaters this year and these occasions are getting rarer and rarer for me. I hear so-called mid-size budget indie filmmaking is back and some of them manages to break even with VOD market and online services. But there is no way in hell I'd watch an indie movie, especially American indie movie in theaters, let alone pay for it.

Guillermo del Toro is back in form at what he does best - a gothic horror with Crimson Peak. It's a grand, decaying, violent fairy tale made for adults and therefore harder to make money but beautiful nonetheless. It concerns an aspiring young writer Edith (always delightful Mia Wasikowska) in a well to do household in Buffalo, NY in the 19th century, getting involved with a dashing English nobleman named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his cold as ice sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). The brother-sister team happened to own a decrepit manor in England, surrounded by red earth. They need an investment money to dig up and sell that red bubbling earth. Decaying mansion, snowy weather, blood red clay make a beautiful backdrop for this spoiled school girl ghost/love story (just like Edith's manuscript). You realize that all del Toro's ghost stories/fairy tales are just that. That this fat, bearded Mexican man has always had a sensibility of a school girl and bloodier imagination. Any way you look at it, there is no denying how gorgeous the film is. And all three actors are excellent in it. I'm very glad I got to see it on the big screen.