Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Sally Hawkins – Elisa Esposito
Michael Shannon – Richard Strickland
Octavia Spencer – Zelda Fuller
Richard Jenkins – Giles
Michael Stuhlbarg – Robert Hoffstetler
Doug Jones – ‘Amphibian Man’
Strange. Very strange. The Shape of Water is slightly artistic, fully bizarre. Some may find it amazing. Others may find it crap. But everyone will find it incredibly different. This is certainly not my type of movie, but I cannot deny it is special – the story is just what Hollywood needs during these ‘recycled’ times (A-HEM, Avengers: Infinity War, Justice League). Love blended with adventure, an alien-like creature from another world and a race against time to rescue it, comedy, sadness, mystery.. all these elements combine into one quirky little tale – and win hands down. The Shape of Water is weird – but very refreshing.
Hawkins gives a delightful performance as Elisa, a cleaning lady working in a hidden goverent laboratory who discovers a slimy classified secret locked up in a water tank. The woman brings a naturally whimsical feel to her character in every possible way; her eccentric image, delicate posture and bashful mannerisms are channelled from the actress herself into Elisa. And this makes her one hell of an adorable protagonist. One or two scenes where she comes into contact with the ‘Amphibian Man’ are special, adding a romatic touch to an otherwise strange and slightly dangerous situation. It’s nice to watch the mute woman slowly form a bond with the creature, even I felt slightly gooey inside.
Not as gooey as Elisa’s pants got though..
This has to be the first movie I’ve seen in years where the lead character discovers an otherworldly being – and shags it. And it’s not only this encounter which is graphic, Hawkins wastes no time in dropping her clothes and giving the viewer an eyeful. Early scenes show her character laying in the bath masturbating – as part of her daily routine (lucky thing, I just about get time to make it an every second Saturday evening treat these days). And then later on you see her and ‘him’ begin to make love. But oddly enough it works; director Guillermo de Toro manages to make a strangely sexual encounter one of the most romantic intertwinings I have ever seen. This isn’t just “banging” – it’s deeper (pun fully intended) than that and the display of affection given by the actors is wonderfully authentic. Top marks here.
The visual effects used are bursting with clarity and colour. Rich deep greens and blues engulf the screen regularly, especially during the opening scene in which the camera pans slowly across a living room and then across to Elisa who is laying in bed – asleep – under water. It’s terrifically turquoise and explodes with a misty clarity I haven’t seen in any other film in quite some time. Added to this is the metallic industrial setting of the lead character’s workplace; automatic doors and gigantic piping in the walls. Steam puffing out of vents, water trickling down limescale-clad walls.. it makes a great set with a genuine otherworldly sense about it. The graphics are faultless, end of.
Although The Shape of Water is pure escapism and wonderfully watery it has its crap parts too, like most films.
Had it not been for the glossy visuals and unique filming style I would have been bored senseless. Ultimately the film is a lonely woman finding an alien creature and sneaking him out of a laboratory, to keep him in her bath at home. But it takes a while to get round to this as a lot of screen time is taken up by ‘sitty’ moments. For example, Elisa visiting her neighbour Giles at his apartment. One or two of these scenes seem to drag on, with the pair sat watchin television or stood having everyday conversations. Oh, it’s part of the relationship factor I totally get that – but it’s dull at points with Hawkins and Jenkins not making much of a splash until she returns to work and it’s time to focus on the creature again.
The Shape of Water is a lovely little production. It’s colorful and creative which is incredibly refreshing in the current movie climate (I.E. the bullshit we’ve had to endure of late). Almost artistic in direction, it’s a simple love story told in an industrial setting so whisks the world of work into a fine fantasy.
I would recommend this film to anyone with a taste for fantasy or art. Or fish.