Devil's Backbone, The
"What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber."
This quote is from what Guillermo del Toro(Pan's Labyrinth, Blade 2, Hellboy) who claims Backbone is his favorite work thus far. Similar to Pan it is 1939, the end of three years of bloody civil war in Spain, and General Franco's right-wing Nationalists are poised to defeat the left-wing Republican forces. A ten-year-old boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve), the son of a fallen Republican war hero, is left by his tutor in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. But in this orphanage lies secrets, hidden treasure, and spiritual disturbances.

This isn't your typical ghost story. The only thing comparable is The 6th Sense. Not in plot or twist but in romantic style.

The movie itself was like a poem or a short story that an artsy Lit. Professor would make you read. It would be one of those stories that you read at a surface level and the next day in class you fell in love with as the teacher told you what it was really about. I loved this film different than I loved Pan. I loved this film for its depth. This film goes way deeper and beyond the relative simple story of Pan.

It took del Toro 15 years to get this story made which he began in college. By chance at a festival he met a man willing to throw down and risk for this beautiful piece of art.

I loved this movie and will watch it again and again. del Toro is moving up the ranks ladies and gentleman as a personal favorite.

In the vein of Pan's Labyrinth the ghost design and story is moving, poetic, and amazing. This was his beginning.
Reviewed by: shea