Shape Of Water Review
Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab's classified secret -- a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.
I'd heard a little about the film a while back and it didn't really appeal to me, but scooping 2 of it's 7 Golden Globe nominations and going on to get 12 BAFTA and a whopping 13 Oscar nominations it certainly caught my attention. I watched the trailer but still wasn't that intrigued, however I shamelessly jumped on the award season band wagon and went to see what all the fuss was about..
'Hmmmm' was the sound that my friend and I made as we got out of our super comfy VUE cinema recliner chairs....so it's difficult to know where to start with this one. The Synopsis is essentially a Beauty and the Beast adaptation with the beast less beasty and the beauty portrayed in a different light. Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, a mute cleaner working the night shift at a secret government facility in 60's America where she develops a special bond with an amphibian creature that has been captured and bought to the labs.
Half an hour in and I found myself really searching for what it was I was missing that had caused such a stir in the world of cinema. I didn't find it I'm afraid. There's no denying that the cinematography is outstanding, this along with the art direction and set design worked perfectly together to deliver a seamless, damp and sinister environment.
FYI - There's an interesting interview with the film's cinematographer here https://thefilmstage.com/features/the-shape-of-water-cinematographer-dan-laustsen-on-capturing-guillermo-del-toros-fantastical-world/
The film is well cast and performances are first rate but non that were outstanding to me I'm afraid. The soundtrack added a lot to the film but was occasionally quite distracting, having said that there wasn't an awful lot to get distracted from.
I feel the film attempts to be thought provoking and controversial addressing on point issues such as aspects of loneliness, gender neutralism and discrimination. Writer, producer and Director Guillermo Del Torro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim and The Devil's Backbone) said in an interview “I speak about something that worries me as an adult. I speak about trust, otherness, sex, love, where we're going”.
I'm sorry to say that the only thought it provoked in me was 'what's all the fuss about?'. The bottom line is that the story is week and boring and certainly been done a thousand times before. I didn't really care about any of the characters or what happened to them.
It certainly deserves recognition for it's cinematography but as a whole the The Shape of Water is rippled and shallow, it's a soggy 6.5/10 from me.
Check out the trailer here:
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Review by Gemma Bond