Crimson Peak

by | Oct 20, 2015 | 0 comments

Del Toro’s Latest Outing Finds Him Searching for His Prime Artistry

Guillermo Del Toro is a director who has fallen on hard artistic times. He made his big breakout with Pan’s Labyrinth, but then slowly descended into the blockbuster world with the Hellboy series and Pacific Rim, to the point where CGI was clouding his artistic mind. His latest film, Crimson Peak, seems to be facing in the direction of his roots, but it is still far from his best.

Crimson Peak tells the story of a rich American girl named Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) who is courted by a dashing British inventor named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Edith marries Thomas and moves into his old family home, back in Cumberland, England. There Edith begins to see ghosts and she suspects something strange from Thomas’ sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Is there something bigger that Edith has walked into?

First off, the film is absolutely brilliant in technical terms. The set and costumes are especially breathtaking (Del Toro himself said this is the best set he’s worked on). However, you can have a great art design, but without a great story a film disappoints. It’s the unfairness of cinema; some departments are more crucial for success than others.

To this, the story was a bit disappointing. It was certainly complex and rife with good characters with their backstories, but it felt too much like “been there, done that.” So, despite the best efforts from Del Toro, the film was predictable and less shocking than it should have been. Nevertheless, we mustn’t discard the script’s quality, the period dialogue is spot on and the story moves along very smoothly and clearly.

One thing that many might be shocked to find is that this isn’t a horror film (despite being marketed that way). The film does contain ghosts, all with Del Toro’s signature unique looks, but they play a very minor part in the film. The story is much more that of mystery and romance rather than horror and thriller.

The acting was very notable as well. Mia Wasikowksa held her ground but didn’t really stand out. Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, meanwhile, had much more fun with their characters, which helps project their potential status in the cinematic world even higher. I especially am glad that Hiddleston is moving away from the blockbuster world and into the artistic one. 

In the end, despite the successes in the technical department, the story is too common and unsurprising. But thankfully Del Toro seems to be making an effort to rediscover his more artistic roots, and that effort might be the most notable of all. 





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