Evelyn GoughIn the Picture

Pans Labyrinth

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Rated MA 15+

Weve been privileged lately to some real movie gems in the build up to the Oscars and a big winner on the night was the Spanish film Pans Labyrinth.

Set in 1944 in fascist Spain, it tells the story of Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) who are travelling to their new home in the countryside.

Waiting for them there is Carmens husband and Ofelias stepfather, Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez) who has had the old mill converted into a military headquarters. Its his job to eradicate the local resistance and he takes his work very seriously.

On arrival Ofelia is immediately captivated by the magic of the surrounding forest and the ancient carved labyrinth in the garden. The real world is a harsh, cruel place and she welcomes the chance to escape into a fairytale world full of fantastic creatures and legends. A world where she is a princess.

But like most fairytales, this place, while bewitchingly beautiful, can also be frightening and even deadly.

Is nowhere safe for Ofelia?

And bewitching is certainly a word I would use to describe this awesome movie that is straight out of the incredible imagination of Guillermo del Toro.

But it is also cruel, frightening and gory. Believe me, this is most definitely not a childrens film. After all, it is wartime and no war is pretty and del Toro hasnt shirked from depicting that. So if torture scenes make you squirm, be warned!

Ok, so at times Pans Labyrinth is tough and depressing but after sitting through dross like Eddie Murphys Norbit I was definitely in the mood for a dark, twisted and totally engrossing film that combines drama, horror, thrills, fantasy and war! And combines them magnificently.

Pans Labyrinth has wowed critics and audiences all around the world and deservingly so, its an amazing movie. Admittedly it wont be to everyones taste and it is subtitled so if thats a problem give it a miss. Unless you speak Spanish of course!! Ole!

Highly recommended for those who appreciate quality cinema.

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