Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth ★★★★★

Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro with all the comic-book devotion to the outward signs and characteristics of the profoundly wicked, Pan's Labyrinth remains stationary as the most astonishing entry in his filmography. The cinematography and creature effects are terrific and the magnificent Pale Man, a character who visually observes by positioning his eyeballs in the palms of his long-fingered hands, continues to be one of its most significant visual elements.

It possesses both a profound connotation of melodramatic fantasy as well as a somewhat realistic perspective on the depravities of war, together with an ominous sincerity in its portrait of the summer of 1944 during the early Francoist period. It's the character-driven propensities which are always in play that raises the movie aloft its comic book concoctions, while del Toro merges the monotonous with the supernatural; contorting the two so that what separates them becomes almost indistinguishable, all the while interweaving the tale with an emotional framework.

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