The Shape of Water
Guilermo del Toro is a solid filmmaker. I’m not overly crazy about his work and don’t rate him as highly as many others do, but the visual beauty of his films cannot be denied. I am not crazy about Pans Labyrinth or Pacific Rim but I do actually love Crimson Peak. I was always going to check out The Shape of Water to see if Toro could follow up Crimson Peak with an equally outstanding piece of cinema. While The Shape of Water isn’t amazing its quite enjoyable.
The film takes place in the 1960’s where a mute cleaning women finds a creature has been captured by a Colonel and starts bonding with this otherwordly creature. She attempts to free the creature and falls in love along the way. On the other hand, the Colonel is an aggressive man and is abusive towards the creature and then goes all out to try to figure out who helped the creature escape. The film is set with a back drop of U.S./Soviet tensions and plays a part in minor aspects of the film.
This is definitely the best Sally Hawkins performance to date. She is wonderful as a mousy mute woman and does so much terrific acting in the absence of words. Michael Shannon was just born to play a villain and pulls off a typically good Michael Shannon performance. While this film isn’t as visually stunning as some of del Torro’s other work, the creature design, camera work, and costume and set design is still very top notch.
I’d say one thing about Del Torro’s film that could be a criticism is the writing. The film is fairly predictable. Its good, but goes down a route that we’ve seen in similar type of films. Its an entertaining film but its not anything jaw dropping visually or creatively. Strong performances and del Torro’s imaginative creature creation keeps the film moving and he creates characters you want to root for. Its not del Torro’s best but its definitely going to please his die hard fans.