Crimson Peak – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

crimson peakCrimson Peak – 3.5/5 – Originality; it is something that gets lost in today’s films.  With a plethora of remakes, adaptations and sequels; Original content becomes hard to find (but they do exist).  Even if a film spins a new/original tale; it doesn’t always mean it will turn out great either.  Crimson Peak (a film by Guillermo Del Toro), is another deeply woven original tale that gives us a glimpse into his fanaticism of storytelling, but also brings us into a world that is original.  This is a film that’s built off the eye of the director and the visual presence of the environment.  Even if the story is shaky at parts, with enough from the vision of the direction and the cast; this is a film you won’t want to miss.

Premise: As an aspiring author looks to face truths of the other world; she is swept to the countryside by infatuations.  Taken in by siblings of a mysterious past; the presence of the supernatural begins to bubble.  Within a house that never forgets; will Edith uncover the truth before she faces the fate of many others?

At the heart of this film are four actors/actresses.  You have:

Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing

Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe

Tom HIddleston as Thomas Sharpe

Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael

These four individuals do an amazing job in engrossing you into their character as well as the.  With a very romanticism kind of approach, the film’s passion and allure comes from these individuals.  You get to see very distinct personalities; ones that play off each other with ease.  In each case, the uniqueness keeps you engaged with their individual purpose, as well as the ongoing arching main plot.  In the lead role of Edith Cushing, Wasikowska creates a character that is very captivated by the ‘other world’ while also being blind by pure innocence.  The latter part of her personality is what draws the attraction towards Hiddleston’s Thomas.   This romantic bubbling is built off the gothic approach of the film, a passion that is fantastical by thought but realistic to the eye.  That also entangles her into the web of the Sharpe siblings, drawing that irking eye from Chastain’s Lucille. There trio dynamic helps create an array of emotions and moments; no matter if they are all together or separate.  These three are at their best when left to create raw ambiguous feeling within the vision of Del Toro.  You can sense the fragile tension, a balance of love and the ultimate manner of choice.  If it wasn’t for these three, the film would have fallen apart.  When it comes to Hunnam’s Dr. Alan McMichael; he does a great job in playing an atypical ‘love interest’ for the main lead; but doesn’t really have a strong presence throughout.  Overall, he helps add subtle flavor to the main cast, but also doesn’t add a tremendous dynamic like the others.  With the rest of the cast; the secondary characters play to the strength of the gothic aura, adding emotional treads both visuals and emotionally.  They could be describing as your typical archetypes, but because the film has a unique twist, there is enough in these characters to make them stand out a little more (which includes the Edith father and the other characters at Sharpe’s estate in England).

When it comes to the direction and story, this film mixes some original content within the backbone of a romantic tale.  The original content comes from the allure of the gothic atmosphere.  This sensation comes across quickly; built from the first scene when we learn that Edith having the ability to talk/speak to ghost.  This creates the basic ‘plot device’ of a supernatural element, but also helps soothe audience into something that isn’t familiar.  Furthering the gothic approach, characters are more direct with dialogue with an emphasis of blending physical emotional attractions with words.  Sensations that are built off the dialogue/physical connections help add another lens for the audience.  It creates a window where you feel the fanaticism within the realism.  That approach helps you feel the ambiance, creating a brooding tone that is welcomed and eerie.  With starting with the gothic elements, it helps create some characterization before the film blends in the romantic tale.  The romance comes in when Thomas arrives in Buffalo, NY and begins courting Edith.  He comes across as a very suave, sophisticated individual; one where you sense has passion, but what for?   The added relation of the ‘brother/sister’ duo from Lucille helps perplex the questionable behavior.  As these two seem to be playing Edith, the romantic tale begins to build and blend into the mystery of what these two are really after with Edith.  The darkly tone that blends with the atmospheric tale; helping hide the linear approach.  This also allows the characters and visual allure bring you into the world of their lives.  As the film moves from the first to the second act, Edith marries Thomas and moves with them back to their Estate in England.  Things begin to get even more eerie when Edith and her plot device abilities come into play.  She has perplexing visions at night that reveal something of a cautionary feeling towards the Sharpe siblings.  Her curiosity begins to lift the layers of mystery, revealing the truth of the Sharpe family.  This is also helped by the added fostering of some horror elements.  The greatness of Del Toro is to spin the obvious with originality.  He gives you a dark visual quip that blends with a strong story.  There are also (unlike his last film Pacific Rim), deeper characterization with the family dynamic and Edith’s relationship with Thomas.  All of this creates shock, horror, romantic passion and fearful moments in the film.  The thematic sensation adds to the linear storytelling; helping the gothic element strength the entertainment.  When the truth comes to the forefront, it turns into an all out passionate tale of love, family and what matters to the heart.  Characters with deeply woven flaws and heighten senses help bring a climax that is all too familiar but pulse pounding.  When the dramatic tale comes to a conclusion, the epilogue is a great monologue of originality, but also one that becomes a general ‘wrap-up’ of everything that had happened in the film.

The visuals is the (most importantly) the best part of the film.  As mentioned a few times already, builds off the gothic nature of the story, putting that complexion of physical prowess within the emotional allure of the film.  From the creation of Buffalo, NY and the Sharpe Estate, you see a production of saturation within color as well as panorama views that produces both something that is unique and real.  The darken colors combined with the ‘claustrophobic’ approach helps create emotional and riveting moments.  No matter if it is a romantic encounter to a horror/ghost confrontation; you feel as much as you see what is happening.  When it comes to the score, it is somewhat familiar but welcomed.  Using a deeply resounding score, it helps build up tension.  This causes the emotions to move twofold.   It heightens the audience senses and allows them to hear the feelings of what is happening.

Crimson Peak is a film that may not seem something new on the surface, but coming out you get a refreshing feeling of seeing something different an original.  With a gothic like tone blending within a romantic tale, there is a lot going in the film to create an entertaining night at the movies.  If you’re a fan of the director, actors/actresses or like something different; this is one for you.  Worth the price of admission and a great outing with friends.

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