- Written by
- Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
- Directed by
- Guillermo del Toro
- Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston
Guillermo del Toro's latest dive into the darkness is a sumptuous, beautifully constructed tale that feels both archaic and inviting.
Shot with a sanguine palette, the film unfolds like the contraption in del Toro's 1993 film Chronos, with intricate mechanical devices or looming archways framing and constraining the characters.
Performances by Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain are perfectly in keeping with the tone of the piece, providing a sombre aloofness that may grate on some.
For those willing to delve into this strange world, though, there's lots to gain from small moments shared between the characters, be it the brushing of candle-lit hands during a waltz or glances of conspiracy between siblings. It's also refreshing to see the gender dynamic of the Victorian era upended in engaging ways.
Production design is often the hallmark of a del Toro film, and the world of 19th-century Buffalo as well as the throbbing red muck surrounding the film's central edifice are beautifully realized.
It may take some suspension of disbelief to get into the mood, but for audiences open to its charms, Crimson Peak is enthralling.