Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Cronos, dir/wr. Guillermo del Toro, st. Frederico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook

1994's Cronos tells the story of antique dealer Jesús Gris (Luppi) who stumbles upon an amulet, a handheld clockwork sarcophagus that contains a living and eternal-life-giving organism. One suspects that beneath the melodrama and generic vampiric troping, there's an earnest film lurking beneath the undead flesh, indeed Tomas Alfredson's 2008 cross-genre Let The Right One In owes a large debt to this early 90s take on the myth, exposing the humanity from deep within the inhuman, though here, it's sometimes hard to see. Jesús' grand-daughter, the near-mute and aptly named Aurora (Tamara Shanath) acts as the film's emotional and moral conduit with a need to protect her grandfather being as ingrained as a need for affection, but Perlman's comedy henchman routine and Brook as an ineffective master villain undermine the feeling there's much of any value at stake. Still, conceptually it's light-years away from the mire and mucus of the recent Twilight saga (it's over now, right?) and it's imbued with an entirely unselfconsciously European air of breezy indifference. We know that del Toro has gone on to bigger, better and more coherent projects, but this serves to remind one of where the kernel of his unique visions took root.