A film from the archives of the new ‘King’ of spinning of adult twisted fairy tales Del Toro‘s early film Cronos doesn’t disappoint, and shows all of the imagination, thought and psyche that brought us Pan’s Labyrinth and the soon to be (but not soon enough) The Hobbit.
A short introduction shows us an alchemist in the 1500’s who invents the key to eternal life; the Cronos device. The story then switches to modern times when Jesus Gris (Luppi) a dealer in antiques accidentally uncovers the Cronos deivce. Gris lives with his younger wife and devoted granddaughter Aurora (Shanath). Gris accidentally activates the Cronos, which changes the course of his life forever, not least because the wealthy De la Guardia (Brook) and his psychotic hench-man and nephew Angel (Perlman) are after the Cronos, and its secrets, as well.
I saw Mark Kermode recently blog about vampire movies, due to the recent Twilight, True Blood and Halloween spate of films, books and television programmes about our blood-sucking friends. He recommended two films, one of which I had seen – Let The Right One In (which is reviewed here) and the other was Cronos, which although I love Del Toros work I had never seen. A fact, of course, you can see I have rectified.
The film is moody and atmospheric; the story is simple, and yet not so simple; there is a rich, powerful, sickly, man who desires eternal life he’s read the secrets he knows what he needs to do but he cannot find the Cronos that he needs. On the other hand there is the innocent that stumbles onto the Cronos and accidentally unleashes its power.
Del Toro yet again puts a spin on a familiar story – that of the vampire. Its not sexy, its not desire lead it’s a quest for deep thirst done in a controlled and restrained way, and that makes it different from a lot of other genre blood sucking films. Guis is a family man, devoted and loved, confused and yet still in control of himself despite the changes he undertakes. More strikingly for me was the silent brooding and scary Aurora, a girl who accepts, colludes and bares mute witness to all of the horror that surrounds her. She is devoted to her grandfather no matter what – it’s a great twist to an accepted story line.
Although defined as low budget, this film doesn’t look like it, it is sometimes sparse but it’s in keeping with the feel and mood of the movie. Its well worth watching, it gives a different spin on the vampire mythology and although I love the traditional stuff there’s always room for something else, especially something of this quality.
Director – Guillermo Del Toro
Federico Luppi – Jesus Gris
Ron Perlman – Angel de la Guardia
Claudio Brook – De la Guardia
Maragarita Isabel – Mercedes
Tamara Shanath – Aurora
Read more at: Nerve Curve