Film Review: The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water

Dir: Guillermo del Torro
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, David Hewlett & Nick Searcy.
123 mins | Drama, Sci-Fi | 15

As the Oscars gave us ten nominated films for Best Picture (hardly a shortlist), it would be The Shape of Water which takes home the big gong. Also, winning Best Director, del Torro has created a vivid depiction of the early 1960s Americana, peppered with his love for the weird and the wonderful.

There has been a lot of talk about “fish love” regarding the film. Whilst there are some eyebrow-raising decisions here, who could argue it not winning four Oscars (rightfully so for Production Design and Music). Sally Hawkins is Elisa, a mute cleaner who wants more out of life. But the lab she works at has a new arrival, a mysterious aquatic creature. They hit it off (really hit it off) and the plan to get the creature out is on the addenda for Elisa and her friends and co-workers.

There might be some scenes of lag in the pacing, there are other moments of pure tension, a fine example being when they are about to transport the creature out of the vicinity. Fine performance there from Hawkins, who uses sign language and facial expressions to great effect. The supporting cast of a curt Octavia Spencer, an awfully creepy Michael Shannon and a heartfelt Richard Jenkins, are also on fine form.

The animal itself is Cleary inspired by the Creature From The Black Lagoon and not doubt Scalies (a group similar to Furries) who will relish the human and animal relationship. I can understand how this is not to everyone’s (many cinema-goers did laugh when I saw it), yet this never stops you from caring for the two of them being together, even if you feel it is not meant to be.

Shape Of Water

The directing is crisp here, the best Torro has done for years. It is the mood and design of the film which really brings it together as well. You almost feel like you are there in the grime of the era. The music of Alexandre Desplat might overdo it with flurries of accordion charm, but ut dies help with the grip the film early losses.

Though Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is my favourite film for a little while, I can firmly recommend you take a dip into The Shape of Water

Rating: ****

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