Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Shape Of Water 2017

                 A fairy tale for adults so you should leave the kids at home unless you want to explain to them what Sally Hawkins is doing in the bathtub and why is Michael Shannon lying bare ass on top of his wife. I would also give a warning to cat lovers and violence and gore haters, this is after all a Guillermo del Toro film.
                Set in a dank Baltimore at the height of the cold war circa 1962 this tale of a lost princess of sorts concerns a mute young woman who is a badly treated cleaning woman at a vast and creepy scientific facility who tolls away on the night shift along side her co-cleaner and close friend the darling Octavia Spencer. The place is run by a towering pile of evil and misdeed Michael Shannon who is in danger of forever being cast as kings of meanness if he’s not careful but still he is fun to watch as he goes about his nasty deeds.
                     Into this cold wet and forbidding center of secrets and fear comes a creature brought back from not a black lagoon but a Technicolor one, and all of the problems that meet and greet our little Eliza begin with this fabulous creature. There are all sorts of nasties hanging and running around including a Russian spy and his cold war cohorts who fit snugly into a rusty tin of stereotypical cookies. Eliza lives above a falling down but beautiful movie palace in a crummy loft like space along with her best friend who lives next door and is an old but still struggling commercial artist who happens to be gay and has his own problems including making a living doing illustrations for ads just when the industry is changing over from art to photography.
               This part is beautifully rendered by the great Richard Jenkins who pretty much steals every scene he’s in which is not a easy task considering who he’s acting with.  The plot line about commercial art is a nice touch among many including a vivid feel for the period with all the commercial products and services in place including a beautiful array of vintage shiny cars, black and white television programs and perfect attire. Del Toro wears his heart and soul on his sleeve along with his vast and affectionate knowledge and love of old movies, pulp fiction especially of the sci-fi kind, toys and games.
                  He is also political and always finds ways to bring his liberal leanings into his films, and “Water is no exception. There are side trips to racism and homophobia along with sexual workplace harassment that is presented to us in the movie before it had become one of the main topics of discussion in the media and everywhere else and serves to show us how it has always been with us.
                     But this is a love story above all else and the side bars of vast conspiracies, the military-industrial  complex, racial and sexual injustices take a back seat to the odd and unusual love story between Hawkins and the “creature”. For most of this strange and lovely film I was enchanted and moved even though it slows down towards the end with somewhat expected twists, turns and comeuppances.  A special nod must be given to the marvelous Sally Hawkins who delivers a wonderful almost pantomime performance that is nuanced and one might say choreographed and she is as usual a marvel to watch.         


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter