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Cronos Film Review
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro (screenplay)
Released in 1993
In 1536 an Alchemist creates a device which he has created to give him immortality, The Cronos. In 1937 he dies and hides The Cronos, it is only on his death and the search of his house that the price of The Cronos is discovered. In the present day The Cronos is being searched for, but is found by an unsuspecting antiques dealer.
An aging Jesus Gris runs an antiques store in a small Spanish town. He lives with his wife, Mercedes and their Grand Daughter Aurora. After opening up the store one morning a man enters the shop and is obviously looking for something in particular, he leaves after paying close attention to some Angelic sculptures. During the morning Jesus and Aurora discover that one of the sculptures is hollow and Jesus takes it apart, inside they find a strange egg shaped object, beautifully crafted and made out of Gold. The object has a winder and when Jesus places the object in the palm of his hand, legs come out and it locks on to him biting in to his flesh. The same morning another man comes looking for he sculpture and buys it from Jesus.
After this first 'bite' Jesus starts to feel different, younger, healthier, more vitalised. During the night he becomes thirsty but cannot quench this by water, he becomes irrational and gnaws at his wound. Eventually he succumbs to using The Cronos again, his pain eases as the device locks down on to his flesh. This time we see the inner workings of the device and watch as the blood lubricates the clockwork and the insect that lives within.
After discovering The Cronos is not in the sculpture, the uncle of the man who bought it requests a meeting with Jesus. He explains to Jesus the history of the device and why he has be looking for it for many years. Jesus tricks the man in to thinking he has given The Cronos to him.
Jesus now becomes more reliant on The Cronos as he realises it's power. But in payment for the good he believes it is doing him, he has to pay the ultimate price to continue recieving it's gift.
This was Guillermo Del Toro's first main stream film and is Spanish spoken with a smattering of English. Del Toro set up his own FX company, Necropia, to create the what we see on the screen in this film and although it wouldn't win any prizes in this day and age, it's not what this film is all about. The Cronos device when used creates a human being that can live forever but only if you feed it. It creates a Vampire.
In the case in point we have a man that tasted a little of what he had lost years before and he likes it. Whether he lost the impetus to be 'young' or just got old, we don't know. But we can probably all relate to his feeling of wanting to be someone that they were years ago. In this case he is not driven by wanting to be immortal or having known he was dying before using The Cronos, he is just tastes a small piece of what was.
Del Toro beautifully tells the tale of a man who loves his family and does what he can to keep them safe. In a world of high tech images and superstar actors this a wonderfully simple story, that delivers a cautionary tale. Scenes of horror, love and dark humour combine to lay the foundations of a brilliant directing career. Long may it continue!