Here is a semi review of the film Shape of Water. I could have kept on going but it would have never ended.
I expected the main antagonist, played by the incredible Michael Shannon, to be two dimensional and a total waste of Shannon’s talents. Boy was I wrong. I found myself actually finding his character to be interesting and fun, something the villains of most films I’ve watched this year haven’t come close to being. He’s an asshole for sure, and by the end you will love to hate him, but his well-written and acted character was a delightful surprise to an already delightful film.
Then there’s the good guys, who I won’t go too much into as talking about them might give away a part of the story that you deserve to enjoy and not have spoiled. All five of them where fully developed and realized characters, from the mute, sweet protagonist Eliza to her two friends; Zelda, her talkative co-worker and Giles, her older next door neighbor (Who is played by Richard Jenkins with a care and tenderness that makes you instantly like him). Then there’s the scientist, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who I found to be the most “plot” character of the movie, yet still had a fun and interesting story arc. Last but not least is the creature, played by Doug Jones, who is no stranger to bringing life to characters that can only be played with tons and tons of makeup. The guy sells you on the character, on what it’s thinking, its emotions, fears, and growing love for Liza.
Going back to the mediocre films of this year, looking at you Star Wars and Bright, I found myself noticing that a lot of the characters felt just like that, characters, not people. Even their stories felt more like plot than an actual story, one example being Bright. Bright tried to mix the fantasy with the dark and messy modern world, but that merger wasn’t something the director or script writer managed to do competently, as the movie progressed and we delved deeper into the world of Bright it began to come untangled, the high fantasy setting being rejected like a bad kidney transplant by the dark, violent modern world that couldn’t fuse both genres seamlessly. Shape of Water on the other hand fused a fairy tale fantasy world with the slightly less modern world of 1960’s Baltimore that handled its mature themes far more successfully, when something sexual or violent happens it doesn’t feel forced, it feels like a natural progression of the story and world.
I could go on and on about this magical little gem of a movie, talking about its themes, tone, subtext, acting, editing, cinematography, directing, transitions (some of those transitions were expertly crafted into the story, when you see it you will know what I mean). But I want people to go in like I did, fresh and ready to be taken on a fantastical ride that will leave you feeling hopeful and excited for films once again.
There’s so much more to talk about, so go see it so I can talk to you about it.
Now let us discuss!