Crimson Peak

02/25/2018 14:38

Film: Crimson Peak

Year: 2015

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston

 

Review:

This film begins with voice-over narration telling us that ghosts are real. The voice we hear is of Mia Wasikowska. We then see her face as she has a cut on her cheek. She looks like she has been through a lot. We then see the opening credits that end up in front of a book entitled ‘Crimson Peak’ and it opens.

She also tells us about the first time she saw a ghost. She stated that her mother died when she was young of black cholera. They had to have a closed casket. She was then visited by her as a ghost. The ghost is actually Doug Jones and he looked very creepy. The ghost warns her to beware of Crimson Peak.

We are then in 1887, Buffalo, New York. We see Wasikowska as she is walking across the muddy ground. She enters a building and heads up for the second floor. There she meets with a doctor that she is quite fond of, Charlie Hunnam. As they are talking, his mother comes down who is all about society, she is Leslie Hope. Wasikowska is mocked by the ladies who are talking about a baronet from Europe because she wants to be a writer. She does have a good witty comeback for them.

We see her doing some corrections on her story before they are read by Jonathan Hyde. He does give her some feedback, which it needs to be more of a love story. She relays this to her father, Jim Beaver, who gets her a gift of a new fountain pen. She doesn’t seem to like it as much as he hoped.

The next day she meets the baronet while she is typing her story at her father’s offices. He is Tom Hiddleston. He is there to give a presentation to the men that run the company including Beaver. It doesn’t go well though when Beaver doesn’t like the machine he is pitching to them and doesn’t care of Hiddleston either.

That night there is a ball that is going on and Wasikowska helps Beaver get ready for it. Hunnam shows up to go with Beaver to it and they comment on how Wasikowska would be the belle of the ball if she came. The two men go off. Wasikowska goes back to working on her story when she is visited by another ghost, warning her of Crimson Peak. She is terrified when her maid comes in, telling her Hiddleston is downstairs, wanting to see her. She tries to send him off, but he convinces her to come to the ball.

She does relent and there she meets Hiddleston’s sister, Jessica Chastain. She is playing the piano and she is quite cold toward her. She does play the piano while Hiddleston demonstrate the correct way to waltz with Wasikowska. The two then start to spend a lot of time together.

This causes Beaver to hire Burn Gorman to look into Hiddleston’s past as he doesn’t like him. He does find out some information and tells Hiddleston that he needs to break his daughter’s heart and leave immediately. Beaver though is murdered at a local club he goes to every day.

Will Hiddleston do as Beaver commanded? Or will the two of them run away together? Can Wasikowska just leave like that? Why is Chastain so cold? What is Crimson Peak and why should Wasikowska be worried about it? What is Hiddleston’s end game in all of this?

I had unfortunately missed this film when it was in theaters when it first came out and had never gotten around to seeing it until now. I had lucked out that my local theater is doing a tribute to co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro in 35mm. Much like his other films, this one is also visually stunning. What I really liked about that for this film is that the ghosts and the red soil at Hiddleston’s mansion are so vivid against how dreary the house is. It makes them pop and visually it is amazing. The story has some interesting aspects to it. I love that Wasikowska wants to be a writer and that this whole film is an allegory to the story that she is writing. The ghosts really aren’t the focal point of this film. This really is a gothic romance where the ghosts are helping Wasikowska put together the truth of what she is involved in. I did like that aspect. I also liked how the film plays out in the end.

The acting of the film is really good across the board. Wasikowska is an actress I don’t see in a lot, but I think she is underrated. I thought in this film her nativity is played on, but they don’t know about her ability to see ghosts. She is strong in her ability and I thought it was believable in her seeking the truth. Chastain is another solid actress, but I think her role in this film is really subdued. We get to see more of it in the end and it makes sense why, but I just expect more from her. Hiddleston was fine as the baronet. There was just a little bit off for me in his portrayal as the love interest. Hunnam didn’t impress me a lot, but I think that is lack of screen time. Jones I have to commend, because he is one of the best physical actors out there.

As stated, the visual effects of this film are great. Del Toro just knows how to make what he is showing look so real and beautiful. He also blends practical and CGI effects seamlessly. The ghosts are all CGI and they look so real. They are also so creepy which I was a big fan of. The practical effects also look very realistic and some of them really made me cringe. The editing of the film did have some issues in my opinion. The film just kind of meanders, which I really can’t blame though as this is how most of the gothic novels also feel. I have to give del Toro credit there as he does capture this aspect. The score of the film fits very well for what was needed. I did enjoy that aspect of the film as well.

Now with that said, I thought this film was slightly above average overall, but it does some things great. Visually this film is stunning, I just need to reiterate that one more time. The story itself I liked, it is interesting that the story that Wasikowska’s character is writing is an allegory to what is really happening in her life. I enjoy how the film plays out in the end. The acting is good across the board. Wasikowska is really the star though. The CGI that was used looked great as did the practical effects that are used. The editing did have some issues in my opinion. The score was also something that was a positive. Overall I feel that his film is above average and definitely worth a viewing.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10