Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ten Statements About....CRIMSON PEAK (2015)

"Hello.  I am your designated scenery chewer for this
"Ghosts are real.  This much I know."

1) Mia Wasikowska’s Edith does not work as a heroine.  She is set up as a self-reliant, progressive and clever woman only to--almost literally at the flip of a switch--become a weak-kneed softie for the duration of the film.  We’re supposed to think it’s because of her feelings for Tom Hiddleston’s Thomas...except that she is resistant to him with no hint of her weakness for a stretch of the first act.

2) ...of course, it might be because Wasikowska and Hiddleston have no chemistry whatsoever, which especially makes Thomas’ story arc nonsensical.  We don’t believe in his change of heart because we have no faith in his feelings for Edith.

3) This film is way too long, and is rife with scenes that could be cut, especially in the first act.  I suspect the story would flow much better if it lost fifteen minutes to a half hour.
"I know we have no chemistry, but the script demands it, so..."

4) Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that the ghosts that are supposed to be a major crux of the film...don’t do anything essential to the plot.  They’re incidental to the point where you could cut them out whole and, with very slight re-jiggering, still have a movie.  This might have worked better, given that the ghosts’ presence in the film makes Edith come off as rather dim.

5) In a film where so many of the principles underplay their roles. you gotta give Jessica Chastain credit for so vigorously biting into the scenery.  She’s wound so tightly that your eyes are drawn to her even when she’s in the background.

6) I’m with Ian Loring and Mark Foster on this--Guillermo del Toro has it in for faces.  Even butterfly faces get mangled in this movie.
Mia doesn't want to look at the reviews inside that bucket...

7) Seeing and enjoying Burn Gorman in a small but pivotal role makes me come to the conclusion that it was the writing on Torchwood that made me hate his character and not him. Or that del Toro knows how to use him.

8) Given that del Toro’s script he collaborated on with Matthew Robbins was trying to re-create a 19th century Gothic, I wonder if they should have dispensed with any supernatual aspect whatsoever and focused on the madness and machinations that the film wants to revel in.

9) What was the point of the scene where Charlie Hunnam’s doctor shares his passion of spirit photography with Edith?  It never comes into play again.  But then, for a character who shows up in the third act simply so Edith has someone to walk into the snowstorm with, it’s not surprising he has little in the way of characterization.

10) Even though I didn’t care for the ghosts’ presence in the film, I do appreciate the look of them, especially the way you can see flashes of the ghost’s human forms when light hits them.

Overall...a vast disappointment from del Toro which suffers from a lack of chemistry between its two leads and a script that doesn’t know what it wants to accomplish.

This time I went to the UA Midway, the first time I had been there for close to two decades.  It’s the last theater standing in the main shopping district of Forest Hills, which once played host to five in walking distance of each other.  The staff was uncommonly friendly, but the projectionist screwed up the tracking for the dreaded Firstlook.  When this was brought to the staff’s attention, we were informed that the picture will stabilize at the time the feature started.  Horror films dominated the trailers with the exception of The Night Before, which focused on one character barfing in a church.

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