Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Shape Of Water


Hawkins and Spencer 

I  adored Guillermo del Toro's Pan'Labyrinth. 
A child's nightmare fantasy set against the violence of the Spanish Civil war was a tour de force Adult fairy tale piece which still haunts me over a decade since I first saw it.
I always thought that nothing could quite beat it, and although I really wanted to love The Shape of water, Del Toro's revisit to the world of strange creatures and the flawed people that come in contact with them, wasn't quite as good as his first triumph....not quite.

I think we all know the story by now.
In a 1962 government research centre an amphibious humanoid creature is being studied and brutalised by special agent Strickland ( Michael Shannon) A mute and lonely domestic worker Elisia (Sally Hawkins ) secretly interacts with the creature , and a strange love affair starts between the two before the creature is ordered to be killed.
Helped by fellow cleaner Zelda ( Octavia Spencer) and closest gay best friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), Elisia then breaks the creature out of the facility with the violent Strickland in hot pursuit .

In anyone else's hands this might have been a Beauty and the Beast type  fairy tale full of whimsy and sentimentality but typically del Toro has produced a dark, multilayered and strangely credible story about loneliness, damage and loss. Elisia, Giles and Zelda are the " water" of the title as they are damaged people mouldered by their lot just like water is shaped by the vessel it finds itself in. Elisia is mute and is defined by her silence, Giles is in his own words born at the wrong time and Zelda is trapped in an unhappy marriage and it is their varying interactions with the creature that sets them free of the confines of their lives.

Hawkins is truly wonderful and without saying a word is incredibly moving as a woman who has found love for the first time in her sad life. I have to say that the  scene where she silently stands up to the psychopath Strickland with just one look is a revelation and incredibly moving all at the same time.
Jenkins , Spencer and the granite faced Shannon are equally impressive with Shannon echoing Sergi Lopez's brutal baddie performance from Labyrinth.
Del Toro does love his psychopath baddie , and Shannon is truly evil in this movie , so much so I had to look away at two of his more horrific moments !

The Shape Of Water is really worth the effort. It's magnificently atmospheric, and despite its oddness, strangely believable. It's moving , engaging and , I warn you, darkly shocking.
But I found it perhaps just half an hour too long.
8/10

36 comments:

  1. I am pleased to have read your review of this film. I have been hesitating over whether to see it or not as couldn't make sense of the synopsis. Now I will give it a try - thank you.

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    1. Let me know what you think

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  2. Anonymous9:05 pm

    I too loved Pans Labyrinth! (I thought I was the only one.) We’re so far from a theatre, I probably won’t see The Shape of Water til it comes to Netflix.
    Debbie

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  3. We loved Pans Labyrinth too and I would see it again but this one I need to see with someone:)

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  4. Will try and get to see this. Have you seen her in Maudie? It's superb.

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    1. No , isn't that the Canadian movie?

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    2. Yes it is, JayGee - and it is, as Veg Art suggests, V.V. good.

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    3. I loved her in Maudie as well....she did a great job. The Shape of Water was too....something for me...

      Mardy 🇨🇦

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  5. I thought this looked good. I'll look out for it when it comes onto the box!

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    1. See it in the cinema kev, it lends itself to a big screen

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  6. I too enjoyed the film and I'm a huge fan of anything from Guillermo del Toro. I liked Pan's Labyrinth maybe just a smidge more, but not by much. I want to add Shape of Water to my library.

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    1. I was moved by Labyrinth more

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  7. I think a lot of movies these days are running too long. Is it for placement of commercials when they hit the TV I wonder????

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    1. No I don't think so. It takes a strong director to have a film over 2 hours nowadays ...modern audiences don't do long movies. This film was too long for its story that's all

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  8. I thought this to be a better film than Pan's Labyrinth, not nearly as much gore and violence as that film with it's fantasy creatures straight out of Hellraiser.

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    1. Interesting dave. The violence in Labyrinth Was more shocking but I don't remember any gore.....the creature was , I conceded terrifying

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  9. molded = shaped///mouldered = rotted or decayed.

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  10. I LOVE Pan's Labyrinth. It's one of my favorite movies and this isn't one of my favorite movies. I iked it, and I liked it a lot, but now, after it's won all of these awards, I keep thinking that Pan's Labyrinth really deserved it so much more.

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  11. My friend's daughter is a video editor and works in a film producing company in Canada. She was in the team that edited this film.
    Greetings Maria x

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  12. Having found, as you know, this film a terribly uncomfortable watch, it's only further evidence of my increasing estrangement with today's tastes. But you're one of the majority in admiring this one - along with Radio 5's Mark Kermode, who considers 'Pan's Labyrinth' as being the 'greatest film of this century' so far - that being yet another film I couldn't stay with (though I only tried watching it on TV, not the 'best' place to see films anyway).

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  13. I was going to suggest you see Maudie with Sally Hawkins too. I had tickets to watch it at a small theatre but they cancelled it !
    Would like to see this but would be very uncomfortable watching any torture or abuse.

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  14. We loved it, a very strange film for us as I tend to take films at a very shallow level not looking for hidden depths or meanings. So it's nice to have it explained as well as you do.

    Do go and see it Penny, the quality and wonder do far outweigh the brief torture scenes.

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  15. I loved this film and , based on those I have seen so far, think it deserved best picture Oscar.

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  16. I really liked this one but then I like all of Guillermo's work and he films in Toronto. What an imagination he has.

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  17. Judging from its photograph, I think it is possible I might fall in love with it - it is beautiful.

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  18. I saw all of the Best Picture Oscar nominated movies, and this was my pick for Best Picture and Best Director, so I was pleased that it won those awards. I thought the cast was great as an ensemble. I never saw Pan's Labyrinth - several people I know loathed it - but now I will!

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  19. This movie didn't do it for me at all, but I did love Sally Hawkins. You have to see her in "MAUDIE", the story of Canadian folks artist, Maude Lewis. She is fantastic.

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  20. LOVED IT! but could have lived without the song and dance number. Sally was amazing and Michael Shannon is wonderful at making you despise him. Felt like a dream.

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    1. Yes the dance number was way too much

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  21. Good to know. I've been kind of reluctant to see this movie for some reason, although I also loved "Pan's Labyrinth." It sounds like I should definitely check it out.

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    1. Pan was and is better but it's a good movie steve

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  22. It sounds like I should definitely check it out.สมัคร D2BET

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