Sunday 17 October 2021

Book Review: Guillermo del Toro - The Iconic Filmaker and his Work by Ian Nathan (Non-Fiction/Film)

Title: Guillermo del Toro: The Iconic Filmaker and his Work
Author: Ian Nathan
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Publication Date: 9 November 2021
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/Film
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Guillermo del Toro is a complete and intimate study of the life and work of one of modern cinema's most truly unique directors, whose distinct aesthetic and imagination are unmatched in contemporary film.

Widely regarded as one of the most imaginative directors working in cinema today, Guillermo del Toro has built up a body of work that has enthralled movie fans with its dark beauty and edge-of-the-seat set pieces.

In this book, acclaimed author Ian Nathan charts the progression of a career that has produced some of contemporary cinema’s most revered scenes and idiosyncratic characters. This detailed examination looks at how the strands of del Toro’s career have woven together to create one of modern cinema’s most ground-breaking bodies of work.

Delving deep into del Toro's psyche, the book starts by examining his beginnings in Mexico, the creative but isolated child surrounded by ornate catholicism and monster magazines, filming stop motion battles between his toys on a Super-8 film camera. 

It follows him to film school, where we learn of his influences, from Kafka to Bunuel, and explores his 1993 debut 
Cronos, the independent horror debut which draws on the religious and occult themes which would recur throughout del Toro's work.

It goes on to cover his development as a director with 1997's
Mimic, his blockbuster success with the Hellboy films and goes on to study the films which have cemented his status as a legendary auteur, Oscar award winners Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, as well as his sci-fi masterpiece Pacific Rim, as well as looking at his exciting upcoming projects Nightmare Alley and Pinocchio.

An enlightening look into the mind of an auteur blessed with a singular creative vision, Guillermo del Toro analyses the processes, themes and narratives that have come to be recognised as distinctly del Toro, from practical effects to an obsession with folklore and paganism. It looks into the narrative techniques, stylistic flourishes and creative decisions which have made him a true master of modern cinema.

Presented in a slipcase with 8-page gatefold section, with scores of illuminating photographs of the director at work on set as well as iconic stills from his films and examples of his influences, this stunning package will delight all Guillermo del Toro devotees and movie lovers in general.


Guillermo del Toro is a book sure to delight any fan of the imaginative director. It opens with an overview of del Toro's early life, before launching into discussions of each of his major movies in chronological order, incorporating some wonderful movie stills and behind-the-scenes images, along with information on the background of each of the films. It is a pleasing, compact review of his life and body of work so far. If I have a single criticism it's that the book is too short; I would have liked even more detail on the motifs in his movies and his creative process for each. Overall, this book gets 4.5 stars from me. If you are a fan of del Toro's movies, or a film buff in general, you will find this book well worth a read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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