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