starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Jim Beaver
written by Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins
directed by Guillermo del Toro
by Walter Chaw I love Guillermo del Toro. I love the ethic driving Cronos and The Devil's Backbone and the Frankenstein and Pinocchio myths driving Mimic. I love the Prodigal Son of Blade II, the ferocity, of course, and vision of Pan's Labyrinth, and all of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, my favourite of his films; every frame is wonder. I didn't like Pacific Rim but I did think it was at least all-in and there's something to be said for that. And now here's Crimson Peak, which is just, you know, really bad and for no one. I have a friend who referred to del Toro's book version of The Strain (I've never read it) as arrogant. I didn't understand that, but it tickled during Pacific Rim and has found full flower now in Crimson Peak. There's a point at which someone who is an expert in something can go from teacher to pedant. What begins as a conversation, nurturing and full of joy, becomes patronizing and solipsistic. I myself probably crossed over years ago. Now I have company. Del Toro at his best shares what he loves. At his worst (and Crimson Peak is del Toro at his worst, by a long shot), he believes that he's talking over your head. You couldn't possibly understand. You'll never catch all his references, he says. And suddenly the party's over and he's all by himself in his self-aggrandizing echo chamber of curiosities.