a review by Nalini Haynes
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Cronos is a vampire tale with a twist; what if vampirism was a result of an alchemist’s aspirations to immortality? Centring around Jesus Gris, a Mexican antiques dealer and grandfather deeply devoted to his granddaughter and his wife, with a genuine Christian faith. Jesus receives a statue of an archangel in the course of his business, and finds the Cronos device hidden in the base. He accidentally activates it, having no idea of its purpose or origin.
Ron Perlman (Hellboy) is Angel de la Guardia of the de la Guardia Corporation. Angel serves his uncle, who owns the corporation and is dying. Angel’s uncle seeks the Cronos device as a means to extend his life. Angel and his uncle are Americans, providing the foil to the Mexican Jesus in this allegory of Mexican/USA relations. Their greed and ruthlessness is the counterpoint to the selfless love of the Mexican Jesus.
Originally released in 1992 and re-released this year, this is Del Toro’s first big cinematic feature film, which brought him to the attention of Hollywood. While this is a horror movie, it is only rated M with less gore than one might expect. Cronos is definitely a precursor for Pan’s Labyrinth, so is a must watch for all Del Toro’s fans.
Cronos is well deserving of the 8 awards it won in the year of its release, including Best Director and Best Film at the Ariel Awards and the Mercedes Benz award at Cannes.
One note – the cover picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie except that the metal creature depicted is the Cronos device. It appears that whoever designed the cover didn’t actually watch the movie.
This review was previously published in Dark Matter issue 2, January 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.
All images etc © 1992 PRODUCCIONES IGUANA S.A DE C.V