Last night several friends and I went to check out the new Guillermo Del Toro film, Crimson Peak. After months of trailers and teasers, I was really looking forward to this movie. It was billed to be a beautiful gothic romance with a good chunk of thrills and chills thrown in for good measure. And also, we were promised some decent eye candy in the form of a partially naked Hiddleston. On all accounts, except that last one, this movie was a huge disappointment.
Though it was filmed beautifully, the costume designers did an absofuckinglutely amazing job on the wardrobe (Can we talk about how stunning Jessica Chastain’s red dress was?), the landscapes and scenery were so well done, and the house was beautifully rendered – all that was lovely, but everything else about the film just fell flat. There was so much build up to so little pay off and I have to say, the performances were a bit lackluster as well – with the exception, again, of Jessica Chastain, who really brought the crazy.
OKAY STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.
REALLY. I’M ABOUT TO REALLY TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE.
LIKE FOR REAL.
Still with me? Okay, cool.
Our heroine, young Edith Cushing spends the 1st half of the film as a very strong, independent woman who is ahead of her time. She is a writer. She has opinions. She has no problem cutting other women who were clearly the Mean Girls of their day down to size with a few well placed quips. However, when Edith is publicly humiliated by Hiddleston’s Tom Sharpe (during which, the Loki loving geek in me was silently praying he would call her a “mewling quim”), all he has to do is pass her an little note the next day and she goes running back to him? NOPE. Edith, you are better than that. You are not THAT GIRL.
Then her Dad dies. She hastily marries the Hiddle and he takes her home to his crumbling family estate. And I mean, CRUMBLING. As in, falling down around them. As in, there is NO ROOF ON THE HOUSE. Being a strong woman of some pretty substantial means, I’m pretty sure her next step would be “NOPE. I’m going to go live in a hotel until you put a roof on the house.”
Considering this was supposed to be a gothic romance, the lead actors have NO CHEMISTRY. Apparently, Mia Wasikoska said her sex scene with Hiddleston was incredibly uncomfortable because he is a like a brother to her – and that uncomfortable feeling was in fact the only thing about their interactions that I honestly believed.
The best thing in this film was Doug Jones as the ghosts. (Edith’s Mom’s ghost was indeed beautiful and creepy.)
And okay, I mentioned earlier, I gotta give some credit to Jessica Chastain. She played her bit as Hiddleston’s a bit too close for comfort sister (yes, we’re talking Lannisters close) with a well balanced combination of repressed jealous spinster and bat shit crazy ex-girlfriend so incredibly well. Of course, it was a bit over the top, but for this role to be played the way it should be, it had to be a bit over the top. She brought the crazy in all the right places.
There is so much wrong with this film that I can’t (and won’t) list it all – but I can say that I’ve never been so viscerally disappointed by a film I was so looking forward.
Walking out of this film, myself and my friends all had the same thoughts – so much potential, so much that didn’t work. Whether it was the meandering useless plot, the buildup that took way too long, the attempt at some thoughtful metaphors (the insects, the red clay) that never went anywhere, that almost all of the actors seemed stiff and flat and there was not one atom of smoldering passion anywhere.
My disappointment is doubled when I think about the fact this film was made by the same man who created Pan’s Labyrinth, which remains, to my mind, one of the most nearly perfect films ever made.
But you know, I guess it wasn’t all bad – at least we got to see Tom Hiddleston’s ass, right?