There are few directors working today that have the talent to create a cinematic world on their own, to start from scratch creating a world that has its own stakes. Guillermo Del Toro is one of those few….if anything he’s actually the best at this peculiar skill and “Shape of water” is no exception to the rule. Set in 1950s Baltimore Eliza(Sally Hawkins) is a mute women who works for a Government Facility that is housing something out of the ordinary. When she starts to fall in love with this merman creature she takes it upon herself to free him back into the wild. Sally Hawkins is fantastic! What she accomplishes with no dialogue her facial expressions and body movement is so reminiscent of silent film actors using only sign language I can’t imagine how hard it was to do all that while also maintaining a strong character. The cinematography is also so vibrant everything in this movie has different shades of green depending on the location, her job has a sickly dead green to it’s walls and ceiling with a little black mixed in, outside of that building there’s more colorful shades of green that have more vibrancy and bounce to them I can’t say it’s better than the cinematography in “Blade Runner” this year however it’s a lock for second place in my eyes . The supporting cast is strong! Richard Jenkins,Octavia Spencer,Michael Shannon,Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones all give such grade A performances most of it comes from Jenkins that in no doubt in my mind is a strong contender for supporting Actor.
Del Toro is such a visionary I’m not one to ever question where and why he picks and chooses his ideas….but i’m curious what he was trying to accomplish with the nudity. Sally Hawkins has multiple nude scenes one of them being a scene of her masturbating in a bathtub in the first twenty minutes, Michael Shannon has a sex scene with his wife that really goes nowhere, and a scene where they explain how the creature’s penis works. I understand the movie is about a “Beauty and the beast” parallel but even if those scenes were cut you can still come to the conclusion that Hawkins and the creature are falling in love with each other. There is even a really out of place musical number that cuts into Michael Shannon’s hunt for the creature in the third act was more interesting.
I’m not as high on this movie as the award circuit seems to be. It is pleasing to look at its parallels to French culture,pre 40s entertainment and I think a tip of the hat to the videogame “Legend of Zelda” it still didn’t make that much impact on my viewing experience. I’m going to give Shape of water a “B-”. If you like what you read like and subscribe for more and you can follow me on social media on Twitter,Instagram, and Facebook @cinemaflavor.