I was a bit shocked by Pan's Labyrinth
. It's an unremittingly dark movie, and it's dark in a way that I hadn't expected. I can handle the fairy tale darkness, though some of the images from that fairy tale are disturbing indeed. What I found disconcerting was that the "real world" evils depicted in the movie exist in such close proximity to the fantasy evils that they threaten to engulf the fantasy altogether. At certain points in the movie, I wondered whether the starkness of the real world sapped the fantasy world of its potential significance and power, making the fantasy world seem more escapist than it might if it had occupied the foreground of the movie.Pan's Labyrinth
is the kind of movie you might get if you crossed Hans Christian Anderson with the Spielberg of Schindler's List
and Saving Private Ryan
. It's certainly a good movie, and it's quite striking in some of its imagery.
But a barrel of laughs it ain't.