For Reel

Crimson Peak (2015)
October 24, 2015, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Guillermo del Toro
4 Stars
Crimson PeakIf the superficial point of reference in Crimson Peak is the Hammer horror films of the 1950s and 60s, it is psychologically a film more obsessed with classical melodramas. The du Maurier connection is undoubtable, but more striking is director Guillermo del Toro’s obsession with Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. In considering how del Toro uses familiar motifs to evoke that film (such as the crucial teacups or the exchange of a key), one notices the similarities in the way that his characters are driven by obsessions, jealousies, and the thin line that separates love-making and masochism. It is del Toro’s most grandly operatic and romantic film, where the cards are laid out in the table in the first act as characters discuss how ghosts are used as metaphors. Ghosts, to del Toro, are found as much in the ruins of a destroyed love affair as in a creaking old mansion. If the screenplay gets bogged down with exposition in the third act, it is redeemed by the powerful performances of Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, whose utter madness is actually the beating heart of the film.

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