So I'm not going through the easiest time right now, I won't go into why, just know that it is one of those things where your emotions are on a rickety roller-coaster ride all day. Self-pity, loathing, fear and resentment are interrupted with unexpected moments of buoyancy and hope. Distrust of my fellow man can be extinguished in a moment by a chat with a total stranger. My Karma is doing a drunken version of the Virginia Reel.
So what did I go and do to help this condition? I went out and rented the movie that everyone told me was the saddest movie they had ever seen, Pan's Labyrinth. Well, it just might have been the right thing to do, because whatever hell I'm going through now is a walk in the seven gardens of the palace compared to what these folks dealt with. I kept saying to myself " I might have it bad, but at least I'm not getting my face stabbed off with an icepick," or, "things seem rough, but it's better than being chased down a hall by a strange demon with eyeballs in his hands," or, " hmmm, today wasn't so hot but at least I don't have to stitch my face together or watch a giant frog turn inside out."
If I'm giving too much away I apologise. But I could also be writing this as a warning, to those who don't particularly like watching the most gruesome situations that a movie-maker can get away with. I don't know if I'm qualified to judge whether violence is gratuitous or not but this film, to me, pushed it a bit. I was drawn in by its spectacle, and it is a haunting experience--possibly the closest someone has come to capturing the true fantasy of a real nightmare. (please excuse the confusing double oxymoron).
This movie is a contradiction in terms, fantasy-realism, and the horror lies much more in the realism aspects than in the fantasy. The movie produced in me a feeling I haven't had in a long time, true hatred for the antagonist. I was verbally calling for a long slow death for this villain, and my dog, Booker, cocked his head at my blood lust. I used to get this way when I watched evil Nazis, especially the one In Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the scriptwriter, director and actor created a snivelling sadist who's demise is like watching your team make a eighty-yard run to win the game as the clock runs out. Same emotion.
Oh yea, and they were right, it is sad. Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad. I seemed to manage the sad parts pretty well, like I said, this misery trumped mine by a mile. Another emotion this sadness brought was a need to believe in redemption, and the film delivers this in a way. A movie often is, after all, a portal to the human condition. What strikes me though is that after this fantasy was over I realized that these terrible things actually happened to people and are still happening. The realist bits, not the fantasy. Well, maybe that too.