I missed the cinema release of this which is a pity because I imagine it looks even better on the big screen as the cinematography (Peter Suschitzky: a hand, if ever there was one, in Scrabble) is outstanding from start to finish. It is aided and abetted by outstanding costumes, make up and design.
As for the locations. They seem unreal, but they are, in fact, all real life Italian and Sicilian delights.
When critics describe movies as visual feasts this is what they are referring too.
But it’s complemented by a number of great performances too from, in particular, Toby Jones, Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassell and Shirley Henderson. If that sounds like an odd job of character actors then you can chuck John C. Reilly in too for good measure. His part is a cameo but a welcome one nonetheless.
I won’t describe the story as too many reviews have picked it apart in detail but suffice it to say it is loosely based on Tale of Tales, an Italian book of fairy tales that inspired Andersen and Brothers Grimm. And grim indeed are elements of these tales. These are three interwoven fairy tales for adults.
Think of Pan’s Labyrinth (but more interesting).
For some astonishing reason IMDB only rates this a 6.4 and when you look at the breakdown of scoring one can see why. 16% of the reviews are 1 – 4 but 29% are 8+ so quite simply it’s a Marmite film.
Me? I love Marmite.
Well, this kind.