Devil's Backbone

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The Devil’s Backbone
Throughout film, there is often a very clear distinction between good and evil. The development of a truly villainous character can make this distinction even more evident to the audience. In Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, a man named Jacinto, a villain of pure evil emerges from the plotline.

Like many other famous villains, Jacinto has had a troubled past, growing up in an orphanage virtually his whole life, the same orphanage where he still works during the time of the film. While we don’t find out until later in the film that he is a stone cold killer, Jacinto’s greed and lust are quickly noticeable. He is having sexual relations with the only two women in the film, Conchita and Carmen, and neither of them knows of his promiscuity. Del Toro makes it clear that Jacinto has no intentions of love, only lustful pleasure. Jacinto truly proves to be a merciless killer when he stabs Conchita, the young woman who was in love with him until she learned of his other impious relationship. This is a very moving scene, as the camera shifts from a very close shot to an almost panoramic view of the two characters in a beautiful landscape. This seems almost to magnify even more how horrible of an act Jacinto has just committed, as it shows Conchita dying in such a serene setting. Ironically, Jacinto’s greed ends up costing him his life in the end. He finally finds the orphanage’s gold after trying desperately throughout the film to do so. Yet when pushed into the water, it is this gold that weigh’s him down enough to allow the ghost of Santi, a victim of one of Jacinto’s murders, to hold him down and drown him. In the scene where Jacinto dies, it is captivating to see his face change abruptly from his classic, smug smile to a look of pure terror as the children get the best of him. This is just one instance where Jacinto’s expression affects how the audience views what is happening on screen.

Throughout the film, many...
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