‘The Shape of Water’ Review

the-shape-of-water-posterThe Shape of Water is a fantasy drama film directed by Guillermo del Toro and based off of a script co-written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, and Octavia Spencer. The story, set in 1962 Baltimore, follows mute custodian, Elisa Esposito, who befriends and falls in love with a captured amphibious humanoid creature while working at a high-security government laboratory. Guillermo del Toro does a fantastic job directing this film and brings out great performances from all of his actors. He once again does what he does so well in blending fantasy elements with realism. Alexandre Desplat’s score is one for the ages. Every sound and every note works well together and embodies the characters’ actions and emotions. It adds to the fantasy element of the film as well as the tense moments. The cinematography in this film is great with the set pieces and costume design standing out. The film is also aesthetically pleasing with good use of both light and color. Sally Hawkins is phenomenal as Elisa. There is a duality to her character in that she embodies innocence and naivety as well as strength and maturity. Since the character is mute, Hawkins has to express a lot of her emotion through her facial expressions and physical actions. Michael Shannon sure knows how to be the villain. The way he portrays Col. Richard Strickland can be unnerving at times. He gets under your skin and continually gives the audience reasons to dislike him. Strickland is not your typical villain in that he is not inherently evil but is just a man doing his job… albeit at times in a strict, no-nonsense and somewhat amoral way. Like many people, he is stuck in a job that he has more than paid his dues in and is trying to complete this one last task so he can settle down. Octavia Spencer is great as Zelda D. Fuller. Spencer has found her niche in supporting roles and she continues to shine. She portrays Zelda as a true friend to Elisa who is always watching out for her even when it may not be in her best interest. Doug Jones once again proves that he is the go-to actor for playing non-human characters. His body language and chemistry with Hawkins makes the creature more relatable. I give The Shape of Water a Decent 8/10. I still believe this film can work as a spiritual prequel or companion piece to del Toro’s Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. As the creature highly resembles the Abe Sapien character from that series and they are portrayed by the same actor.

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