This movie is wonderful because it’s weird. It’s a fantasy, a monster story, a romance story, a buddy story, a spy story, with a few pornographic scenes and brutal, bloody violence. Then there’s a song and dance number. A couple scenes are fantasy even within the movie’s world. All pulled together into one story and definitely for mature audiences.
The settings are amazingly detailed and beautifully filmed. Set in the early 1960s (Mister Ed and Dobie Gillis play on TVs in the background – in black and white of course), the good-guys befriend each other despite having no hope of better lives in their grim, impoverished city. Most of the story takes place on the night shift, which adds to the darkness. The only bright colors are outside their reality, on a theater’s movie screen.
The military/CIA research facility is dingy and forbidding. No clean white labs here! Instead, a cavernous structure of gray concrete and rusty metal. The movie uses the familiar trope of evil government agents and this is the perfect place for them.
To further praise the visuals, the monster is excellent, even when he stands in full light.
The plot isn’t particularly inventive. Especially in the second half of the movie, things proceeded as I expected, and that wasn’t a problem. I held my breath a couple times wondering how the movie was going to get from point to point. Watching it unfold was thoroughly satisfying.
The villain doesn’t have a mustache, but if he did, he’d be twirling it. There’s a brief attempt in one scene to create some sympathy for him – but, no! I have no sympathy for the villain.
As a final measure of the movie, my husband and I talked about it the entire drive home, sharing the parts we especially noticed, and admiring the way bits came back to tie into the plot later.
No review would be complete without a quibble or two. A character holds a TV Guide, and it’s the modern large-sized magazine instead of the small size I expected. Also, in that dingy government facility, the bathroom has sinks mounted under-counter, under bright marble – that seemed odd, especially when everything else was so beautifully and depressingly “period.”
This movie is different – weird in a good way. If you’re okay with sex and violence (even torture scenes) then I recommend you see The Shape of Water.
View the official trailer here:
From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fable, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.