Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Devil's Backbone |
Actors: Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve, ═˝igo GarcÚs
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Foreign Film - Spanish/misc SA Rating: R Release Date: 4-APR-2006 Media Type: DVD
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Member Movie Reviews
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR
Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
This film works on every level. More of a gritty childhood drama than a supernatural thriller. Different in tone from Del Toro's other masterwork, though merits equal recognition.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Ghost story that is scary, stylish and intelligent
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 04/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain perhaps. Somthing dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect taped in amber".
It is this rumination which opens THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, a ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War directed by Guillermero Del Toro (Mimic, Blade 2) and presented by Pedro Almodovar.
Carlitos is an orphaned 12 year old who is sent to a boarding school that shelters orphans during the last days of the war.
One unwelcome occupant is the ghost of a murdered boy, called "The One Who Sighs" by the other pupils. Carlitos is unlucky enough to come face to face with the hideously disfigured apparition one night where as a dare, the other boys send him downstairs to get some water; but for some reason he ends up in the slug infested basement; where "The One Who Sighs" dwells in a pool conveniently located there.
The movie gets its title from the name given to the deformed spine of dead foetuses, which is preserved in alcohol by an ecentric teacher. The alcohol is then sold in town and touted as a "cure all" remedy...BR>THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE is a horror thriller that takes its time getting started, but once it does it makes Hollywood's regular crop of horrors look anemic. Scary, stylish and twisty (in addition to twisted) THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE doesn't undermine the viewer's intelligence either. This is a must see for horror fans and film buffs.
Extra features on the DVD include a doco about the making of the movie, trailers, storyboard comparisons and commentaries by Del Toro and the cinematographer."
Rich in metaphor, hard to categorize
John Bonavia | Needham, MA USA | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" which has made huge waves in the non-Hollywood world, "The Devil's Backbone" is not easily categorised. Ghost story? yes, but much more. Picture of the scary tensions in Spain in the early days of the Civil War? yes, but more. Wonderful tale of how a group of children mature amid disaster and tragedy and come to be almost their own family, to replace the ones they never had or are separated from? Yes, but more. Rich in symbols and allegory...yes, but...
The richness of what T.S.Eliot called the "objective correlative" gives one that sense of underlying depth. For instance, there's the huge unexploded bomb stuck in the middle of the school courtyard. What is it but a metaphor for the hidden ghastly secret that waits to explode and reveal the reason for the mysterious ghost of the boy Santi? We only find out Santi's story near the end. Then there's the Devil's Backbone itself - in reality a congenital deformity where the spine is exposed, but spooky-looking in the sample floating in a jar of preservative - doesn't Jacinto exactly match that name? An irredeemable core of evil, like a Shakespeare villain or the Captain in Pan's Labyrinth. del Toro doesn't want to claim that there's something good in everyone: he says no, some characters are just irreversibly turned to the dark side, the very backbone of evil.
Then there's the subtle end-to end connections that add more richness. In the early scene of the school classroom, the children are shown the picture of a mammoth and the teacher makes the point that in these days the creatures were so big and strong that the hunters could only succeed by working closely together as a group. At the end, the children - that have survived - do exactly that as they hunt the gunman, and with pointed wooden spears yet!
I don't really agree with the reviewers who see a strong parallel to "The Lord of the Flies." The children here (wonderfully acted, by the way) don't regress to a primitive kind of anarchical ritual-filled state: in fact they bond ever more closely and deal very directly with the real world around them.
One thought: having seen this, I now don't think any more that in Pan's Labyrinth we are absolutely, definitely meant to take Ofelia's fantasy scenes as all in her mind. Clearly del Toro doesn't mind creating "real" supernatural entities. Perhaps in "Pan" he just wants to leave us in a state of permanent uncertainty, though the majority view among reviewers is that it's literally just fantasy."
A movie with real impact...
Eric McCalla | Denver, COLORADO | 01/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have seen the trailers for The Devil's Backbone, and you were intrigued enough to see the movie, you won't be disappointed. The trailer only scratches the surface of the film's context and message, which is unusual in that it doesn't give away the film's most important moments (like many of today's movie trailers out of mainstream Hollywood.)The many themes presented in the movie (war, love, loss, greed, death and revenge) are visited upon us in very subtle ways. It is hard to describe how the filmmakers have done it, without giving away the plot's clincher. The story unfolds slowly at first, drawing a very somber picture of life during the Spanish Civil War in a remote orphanage. On a technical level, the special effects serve to heighten the emotional and psychological tension as the story progresses. This is a ghost story in more than one way: not only that of a child who appears from the beyond, but also of the metaphorical ghost of war that hangs over not only the orphans, but of all those who are struggling to survive through it. There is a great sense of despair and deprivation that is felt throughout all the characters' actions and emotions. This is not a particularly violent war film physically, but more one psychologically that IMPACTS you very deeply after you have had time to think it through. Marisa Paredes' performance is far and away one of the most compelling this year. It would be nice to see her get some recognition state-side for her contributions to the cinema. Overall, the entire cast is excellent and the production as well as the screenplay are first-rate.VERY highly recommended!!"