The Shape of Water


D: Guillermo del Toro

Fox Searchlight/TSG/Double Dare You (Guillermo del Toro & J. Miles Dale)

US 2017

123 mins


W: Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor

DP: Dan Laustsen

Ed: Sidney Wolinsky

Mus: Alexandre Desplat

PD: Paul D. Austerberry

Cos: Luis Sequera

Sally Hawkins (Elisa Esposito), Michael Shannon (Col. Richard Strickland), Richard Jenkins (Giles), Octavia Spencer (Zelda Fuller), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Robert Hoffstetler), Doug Jones (The Amphibian Man)

Guillermo del Toro may owe a debt of gratitude to other filmmakers and their visions, particularly French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but this 2017 fantasy romance does have enough originality of its own to escape any allegations of plagiarism. 

Sally Hawkins really shines in the lead role of Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaner at a government laboratory in 1960's Baltimore, where the new asset is an aquatic creature which the military plan to experiment on to give them an edge in the race for space.

Initially hostile, the amphibian man soon becomes able to communicate with Elisa and a unique romance develops between the two, threatened by the monstrous army colonel in charge of the operation, but Elisa also finds assistance in the form of her gay next door neighbour and her co-worker who provides a voice for her.

The direction, cast, music and technical achievements are all excellent and the visuals are a marvel to behold. The amphibian man is basically the Creature From The Black Lagoon with a better physique, but it's refreshing that the creation was mostly done with practical effects rather than CGI. 

Certainly one of the best films of 2017, reflected by its deserved haul of 13 Academy Award nominations (it won 4, including Best Picture).


The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water