Tuesday 23 January 2018

Today's Review: The Shape Of Water

I actually saw The Shape Of Water at the Odeon Screen Unseen last week, and have as yet neglected to review it. But, seeing as it's at the top of the list of Oscar nominations, I thought I'd throw in my two cents. This is the latest from the wonderful Guillermo Del Toro, and yes, it is about a woman who falls in love with a fish man. Not your typical Oscar bait, but I've been surprised by a few of the nominations this year.

This isn't just about a woman falling in love with a fish man though, it's about a mute woman falling in love with a fish man who is a top secret government asset in the 1960s. Thankfully that very specific characterisation and setting are held up by some amazing actors and cinematography. It's clear to see where all these nominations are coming from, this is a beautiful movie. It captures that 60s aesthetic wonderfully, drenched in that foreboding cold war atmosphere, and with Doug Jones squeezed into a wonderfully disturbing fish man suit, where he can still portray a good range of emotions.

Speaking of emotions, Sally Hawkins is spectacular, playing a mute woman who is able to communicate her feelings perfectly. I haven't been so captivated by a character who doesn't talk since Wall-E. She is the life and soul of the film, injecting humour, heart and a sense of adventure into the plot, but she's supported by a great cast, especially the relentless patriotic military man antagonist played wonderfully by Michael Shannon. 

So yes, this is a great film, but it's not perfect. The plot does lull a little in places, and I didn't quite get as involved in the woman/fish man chemistry as I felt I was supposed to. There are some beautiful scenes, yes, but the relationship isn't quite as fleshed out as I hoped. Still, these are pretty minor issues with a movie that is very much worth your time. Suspend your disbelief, and get ready for some magical moments.

My rating: 4/5

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