Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman, Federico Luppi, Claudio Brook, Tamara Shanath
Before the Lord of the Rings films, the Hellboy films and The Devils Backbone, an up and coming director Guillermo del Toro made a film called Cronos in 1993. How does the film stand up 18 years later? Criterion Collection has made the film available on Blu Ray.
The audience learns at the very beginning of the film that back in 1535, an alchemist developed a strange mechanism that could give the holder eternal life. Sounds good, right? Flash forward several centuries later, and we see the body of an old man, the alchemist and basins filled with blood from a corpse missing its head.
Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) an antique dealer finds the mysterious device in the base of a statue. He winds the golden device and suddenly, it opens up and inserts a needle into his flesh. Little does he know that a strange living insect is incased inside of the device. It is the insect that delivers the “serum”, not the golden device.
It isn’t long before the aging Jesus is returning to his younger days. He has more energy, his hair and appetite increase. His interest in woman also comes back to him.
Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook), an aging and sickly businessman, is aware of the device and longs to own it. He sends his intimidating and brutish nephew Angel (Ron Perlman) to collect this item in a very timely manner. Angel has no interest in saving Dieter’s life as he doesn’t care for his uncle and cannot wait for him to die so that he may collect a hefty inheritance.
Dieter, Jesus and Angel are going to come together, all with their own dark motivations for wanting the strange device. Who will be the victor, and will all the despair and violence be worth it?
Cronos is a wonderfully sinister and brutal film that I enjoyed and I believe many Cinegeek readers will enjoy discovering. The performances are solid and the device itself is fantastically inventive, beautiful and scary at the same time.
The simple story is told in a taunt manner and gore fans will enjoy the spilling of blood that is shared.
Cronos jumpstarted del Toro’s career and it is readily apparent in each frame of this film that a visionary director is behind the lens. . He received several awards for the film and received kudos for the effects in the film (which was also designed by del Toro’s film production company).
Even if you wouldn’t label yourself a del Toro fan, this is a film that shouldn’t be missed. At least add it to the Netflix queue for an interesting night of cinema. Fans of del Toro will add it to the collection with a quickness.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in 1080 p. This is a great transfer featuring vibrant colors, respectable black levels and a crisp level of detail. I did not notice any edge enhancement or artifacts.
The film is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 sound mix with optional English subtitles. There is also another subtitle available, a silent commentary by producer Bertha Navarro and co-producer Alejandro Springall. The dialogue is clear throughout and mixed well with the soundtrack.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Cronos is presented in a standard blu ray amaray case with nicely understated artwork on the cover.
There are two commentary tracks available for your viewing pleasure. One with with Guillermo del Toro and the second with the producers of the film (previously mentioned in the Audio portion of this review).
Geometria is an early short film by del Toro that his fans will enjoy viewing.
Welcome to the Bleak House is a tour of del Toro’s office and 4 interviews are offered featuring Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and director del Toro.
Rounding things out is an extensive Stills Gallery and an impressive 40 page inset booklet that fans will enjoy immensely.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10
The Film 7.5/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 10/10
Overall ( Not an Average) 9/10