All the actors involved in the movie, especially Maribel Verdu, Macarena García and Daniel Giménez Cacho, have done an incredible job. They hold your attention with their mastery over a wide range of emotions. Maribel Verdu, from 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' and 'Pan's Labyrinth', is such a delight to watch; she thrills you with her rendition of the Evil Stepmother.
Berger proves that, to tell an interesting story through the medium of movie doesn't necessarily require wide range of colours or even dialogues. With proper story, impeccable acting, and an entrancing background score, one can do wonders.
'The Artist' won a lot of acclaim and awards to bring back black & white silent style cinema, but Blancanieves' conception and production dates much back. If 'The Artist' wasn't out first, being shown at Cannes (its roller-coaster ride of fame began there) and hadn't taken away all the spotlight for being the first post-modern B&W silent film, 'Blancanieves' might have received the respect and acclaim it deserved, because, in my opinion, both these movies are absolute masterpieces.
Anyway, cinephiles shouldn't miss out on this. It's a spectacular and enchanting tribute to Silent-era Films.
Whereas The Artist felt like "I want to revive an era", Blancanieves felt more like "I want to try that too!" Pablo Berger attempted, however, what few can accomplish successfully: to create a silent film in the current state of the movie industry, where the risk of a project is high, from both a financial point of view and from a studio perspective.
Now, if we are purists, Blancanieves follows the silent formula less faithfully than The Artist. It doesn't feel like a silent film per se, but as a black and white film with no sound. This can be said because of the filmmaking style. It is rather uneven, making transitions between the editing, camera and musical score techniques of the 20s, and a more modern approach, with a dynamic camera that moves through spaces to reveal gestures, sceneries and shocking moments. In one moment, you feel like traveling back 90 years into the past, and at others, it is a Spanish melodrama with its inevitable sexualized quirkiness and the most recent technical celluloid features.
So, the most fundamental question about the whole show is: Does the plot justify the creation of a silent film? The answer is: YES.
To begin with, the story is a twist on the famous tale. This was very smart excuse for the filmmakers to use the context of the 20s and portray a pre-war Spain. This makes the whole silent-cinema-tribute deal cuter. Seriously, the film couldn't feel any more Spanish, with its display of dance numbers, flamenco elements and the (disgusting and animal torturer, but undeniably folkloric) matador subculture. Secondly, it is a simplistic story. Silent cinema allows for some peculiar utilizations of the music, the facial gestures and the 'theatrical' mannerisms required in actors to participate in this kind of project. With this, therefore, the movie was taken to another level of magic and entertainment. It is easy to imagine it as a very boring and plain sound feature. And it is in the acting part where the great Maribel Verdú shines. With a strong onscreen presence and unique facial expressions, her character of "Encarna" was a vehicle for expanding her already admirable versatility.
I won't stop supporting these projects despite their flaws, because the intention is the same: to revive an old art form of different talents. Well done!