FILM REVIEW: THE SHAPE OF WATER -What the Creature from the Black Lagoon Should Have Been
This is the version of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON that many would argue should have been. Weaving together elements of a cold war suspense movie, a romance, and a B horror movie, does THE SHAPE OF WATER float or sink? Here are my thoughts....
Visually, it is undeniable that this film is mesmerizing. Much like his other films, Del Toro focuses on a specific color palette to tell his story. In the case of WATER, the color of choice is green - a color that makes a stamp throughout the entire film. Another terrific element is the historical recreation of the era. From the buses and small appliances, to the shows playing on the black and white televisions, the attention to detail takes you back to the era of our film. Lastly, the social issues that the film addresses are worth mention as well, as the moments which highlight them are effectively subtle and never heavy-handed. If all of that wasn't enough, audiences are even treated to a musical piece that comes in the second half of the movie!
In pointing out all these things which worked in the film, much of it could not have happened without all the actors and actresses who are in top form. First let's start with our two leads. With the character of Eliza, actress Sally Hawkins manages to convey a
well of pathos into the character without speaking single word. And Doug Jones proves again why from Abe Sapien to Commander Saru, he is the go to person for bringing strange creatures and aliens to life. Outside of the two leads, Michael Shannon's adds yet another deranged to his already existing collections of villains that he's played, further proving that he may soon corner the market on sociopathic villains. Filling out the rest of the cast, we have: Octavia Spenser as the best work friend who all long to have, Richard Jenkins' character of Giles who struggles with place in the world (personally & professionally), and even Michael Stulberg's Dr. Hoffstetler who
is torn between science and duty.
Considering all the things mentioned before that I loved about this film, I did have a few nitpicks. First, I would say suspending one's belief will occur a few times in this film. One instance of sticks very vividly involves a scene where a character's space is flooding. Additionally, the film can get quite graphic; particularly, a scene regarding the fate of a house cat.
All of all, THE SHAPE OF WATER is a tale of how we may look different, but can still feel the same. It's also a tale of how it takes a community of people-working together- to make a difference in someone's life. Thanks to a solid script and haunting (yet beautiful) score, Guillermo Del Toro's THE SHAPE OF WATER is his film since PAN'S LABYRINTH.
THE SHAPE OF WATER is now in theaters.