'Pan's Labyrinth' tells the tale of post-war Spain in 1944. A young and imaginative girl, Ofelia travels with her pregnant and sick mother Carmen Vidal to the country to meet and live with her stepfather, the sadistic and cruel Captain Vidal, in an old mill. During the night, Ofelia meets a fairy and together they go to a pit in the centre of a maze where they meet a faun that tells that she is a princess from a kingdom in the underground.
The film is very much an adult fairly tale, filled with violence, misjudgement, pressure and bleak surroundings, it's not really a film for children. 'Pan's Labyrinth' takes a new and daring spin on the common outlook of a children's film narrative and packs a punch through the heart of it.
With gorgeous cinematography, incredible set design and just wonderful costumes, this film is a real treat for even the most narrow-minded film viewer. Guillermo Del Toro has captured something that's almost impossible to grasp, his direction of this film has stamped Spanish cinema with a degree of excellence.
The character-viewer bond in this film is much higher than in any other foreign language picture. The audience really feels for Ofelia and Pan, along with waitress Mercedes.
This film gives modern cinema a breath of fresh air, nothing has ever been made quite like this and nothing will ever be as good as this either. True passion and craftsmanship went into the production of this film, something that not all directors endure. Del Toro is famous for magnificent character design such as Hellboy and his latest task, The Hobbit, but in this film, his twisted mind has made beauty from the beast.
'Pan's Labyrinth' is not only a great film in every single way possible but also it's so important. This film shows hope in the new direction of European cinema, we're finally taking a step away from the horrid CGI-covered Hollywood dribble and inventing our own source of entertainment, and this film is the starting point.
It's gloomy, dark, morbid, earth-shattering, well written, fantastically directed, brilliantly acted and just totally essential.
'Pan's Labyrinth' will be the film to change your perception on cinema, the film to bring tears to your eyes and hope to your heart, the film that will just blow you away.
I advise everyone to at least see this film, if not own it. Even if you cannot stand subtitles, just give this film a go, you won't be disappointed.