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The Devil's Backbone
Guillermo del Toro Ispanya, 2001
Almost nothing in the narrative should scare or surprise you. But on the way home, you might find yourself thinking about how richly del Toro layered his characters, how much he feels for them, and how much the movie is about the hope that there’s something more lasting to human life than just what’s physical. In its own morbidly, bittersweet way, it is an optimistic film. Perhaps because, when del Toro shows you a ghost at night, he doesn’t want you to jump. He wants you to find it beautiful.
October 22, 2017
Bütün yazıyı oku
The ironies explode The Devil’s Backbone out of the strict realm of gothic myth, steering it into a terrain of free-associative bitterness and desire. Del Toro transcends the meta archetypes that dominate his work, forging something truly and terrifyingly human. The film is a drama first, and an essay on myths and history second.
November 01, 2016
Bütün yazıyı oku
The unifying element is the slow, often cyclical march of time, and though Pan’s Labyrinth offers wilder imagery, The Devil’s Backbone is just as piercing in its depiction of the psychological and physical wounds that war inflicts on the innocent. One of the more invigorating elements of Del Toro’s films is his insistence on treating children with respect, rarely, if ever, showing them as outright victims, and this tendency has never been more clearly expressed than here.
August 20, 2013
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Even as his extraordinary career takes him to the helm of blockbuster movies like Pacific Rim (2013), this sense of innocence remains an essential element of del Toro’s work—del Toro, the child whose life was “transformed by monsters,” who has devoted his career to exploring the inextricable relationship between pain and beauty, death and rebirth, damnation and salvation, and nowhere more poignantly than in the eerie enchantments of The Devil’s Backbone.
July 30, 2013
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As he did with Cronos before and would in his work since, del Toro infuses his film with elegance in the tender but terrifying narrative, the overall parable of innocence lost, the striking aesthetics, and the stellar performances.
July 07, 2013
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Del Toro has made his most mature, evocative work that, like other great films of its type, opens itself up to interpretive possibilities. In provocatively going beyond mere narrative and genre via a suggestive mise en scène, it imbues every detail with residual nuances that relate to other cultural objects, such as poetry, literature, painting, film, and by implication and explication, historical and contemporaneous issues concerning memory, family, society and the political.
July 19, 2002
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Visually ravishing with its red, ochre and umber hues, it’s the most accomplished film by del Toro… With its complex characters and air of understatement, The Devil’s Backbone is far different in style from the director’s gleefully ballistic Blade 2. Like Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others, it harks back not only to the more restrained style of ’60s horror pictures like The Haunting and The Innocents, but to 19th-century gothic-romance novels and the ghost stories of Henry James.
July 04, 2002
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Mr. Del Toro has generated powerful feelings, even in such digressions as the execution of members of the International Brigade from many nations… Mr. Del Toro enjoys an additional edge in making a historically troubled childhood the main arena for his ghost story. Children and ghosts go together like ham and cheese.
December 10, 2001
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An entertaining and atmospheric revenge tale, embellished with a Lord of the Flies boy-ocracy, Buñuelian black humor (strict schoolmistress Marisa Paredes parks her wooden leg before taking on a strapping young stud), and the memorable image of an unexploded bomb towering like a monument in the orphanage’s courtyard.
December 01, 2001
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If only for its technical aspects, this would rate as a pleasurably superior supernatural psychological thriller, with polished but subtle special effects, painterly, atmospheric cinematography and vivid performances from a top-notch cast. What lifts it, however, is an adept use of generic elements as a poetic/metaphorical gloss on political and historical realities.
November 28, 2001
Bütün yazıyı oku
Less excessive and more atmospheric than del Toro’s earlier films, The Devil’s Backbone is bathed in an amber light that burnishes the image to a fine surface gloss. Its agenda is ambitious. Del Toro’s screenplay is a discomfiting mix of gothic thriller, boy’s adventure story, and political allegory.
November 21, 2001
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As subtly disturbing as THE HAUNTING (1963) or THE INNOCENTS (1961), Guillermo del Toro’s brooding ghost story is rich with psychological and political implications that never obscure its fundamental creepiness. The term “devil’s backbone” alludes to a congenital deformity; it’s occasioned by the haunting image of a malformed fetus in a jar but evokes the oppressive specter of spiritual malformation.
November 21, 2001
Bütün yazıyı oku
It features all the visual brilliance that once made del Toro seem destined to be the founder of Mexico’s own ‘cinéma du look’. The opening montage of a falling bomb, wounded child and body parts drifting in amber liquid is dazzlingly realised.
November 01, 2001
Bütün yazıyı oku