Thursday, November 5, 2015

Crimson Peak

  Sure, Crimson Peak might be predictable and people are taking issue with that because the movie carries itself like a mystery but I think in reality it's little more than a showcase of style and atmosphere. On those terms, Crimson Peak is fantastic. It's a brooding and lurid romantic tragedy with ghosts, murder, sex, and lots of eeriness. It's plot might not be it's strong suit, and the casting might be a little stale in some areas, but the majority of Crimson Peak is something to cherish. I've heard plenty of people say this isn't really a horror movie, and I guess they're right to a large degree- but it's more legitimately frightening than a lot of horror movies that consider themselves as such. Why the distinction? Crimson Peak is many things. It's a period piece, a romance, a drama, a fantasy story, a ghost story, and most certainly a horror movie. But, above all... Crimson Peak is simply great.

  Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston have enough chemistry to keep two movies afloat, and they play the leads here with flair and the right hint of melodrama to make for compelling viewing. It also helps that they're both fantastic actors. Wasikowska is no stranger to gothic romance and mystery. I'd direct anyone to seek out Stoker, a great flick, and the Jane Eyre movie with her in it, I hear from trusted sources that it's also pretty damn great. Just about everyone and their mothers are familiar with Tom Hiddleston from his portrayal of Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Probably the only truly compelling villain to come from that entire stretch of movies. That's really saying something too.

  I found the best part about the movie to be the atmosphere. Director Guillermo Del Toro uses every tool in the kit to create an absorbing and haunting world for these characters to inhabit. Long creepy hallways, ornate architecture, slow-falling snow, and masterful use of lighting and shadows. I could wax praise on the atmosphere the visuals ad nauseum, but that wouldn't be a fair assessment of the whole movie. The story isn't really that compelling unfortunately, and with lesser actors the movie wouldn't be that great. The actors work in tandem with the visuals thus the movie is never boring. It's a blend of raw emotion and stunning visuals. That works just fine for me.

  The special effects are fantastic and it's a real treat to be able to praise CGI effects, but the ghosts in this movie are beautifully realized and truly scary. I do feel compelled to point out that this movie is not a ghost story. Unlike garbage like The Uninvited, there's no shitty twist that pulls the rug out from under our feet specifically regarding the ghosts. They are a part of the story, but the story is not about them. The movie itself has a fun way of pointing that out to us early on. Wasikowska's character, Edith, has written a book, and in the book there are ghosts. But, as she explains, it's not a ghost story. See, the ghosts are metaphors for the past according to her. That's really a really neat way to address it and the movie never relies on the ghosts to be the only thing worth watching for.

  Jessica Chastain turns in a chilling performance as Lady Lucille Sharpe, the sister to Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). The plot kicks into gear once Thomas wins the affections of Edith and marries her, stealing away with her to his creepy old mansion. The movie is rather obvious that Sharpe may have ulterior motives, and afterall- would there really be much of a movie if he didn't? I imagine this will end up being a footnote movie in Del Toro's filmography, but it's a good one nonetheless. It's not a masterpiece but it is masterfully made. There's plenty to like in this one and I had a blast with it.

  It's a mysterious little thriller with fantastic production design, stunning visuals, and great acting. It's also more pulpy and bloody that I expected it to be. It really reminded me of a modern day Dario Argento movie, but maybe a little more low key. You won't be disappointed unless you're expecting a great mystery. It's a good story, but a rather standard mystery. Unfortunately it's easy to figure out, but like I've said, this movie is like a beautiful painting. It tells the details and nuances of it's story through visuals and it's great. Superb use of color and lighting make Crimson Peak a feast of eye candy and one that's so well made, it's absolutely worth seeing. Recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment