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Westside Steve

The shape of water review

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The shape of water
Fox Searchlight
R.                     119 min


Guillermo del Toro isn’t somebody I would call one of the world’s great directors but that’s only because he’s done too many second-rate films. I get it, everybody has to pay bills but in his defense the guy is responsible for some pretty incredible work remember PAN’S LABYRINTH? Now just as mesmerizing comes THE SHAPE OF WATER one of the most original films of the year oh, and the best. It’s funny because I used the term original but as I watch the film I saw elements of a lot of other films including FRANKENSTEIN, the CREATURE FROM the BLACK LAGOON, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and even FREE WILLY. That might sound a little bit ridiculous but once you see the film and are as impressed by it as I was you’ll understand. I’ll give you some hints without really giving up the entire story. It’s like Frankenstein because there is a misunderstood creature feared and hated by many. It’s a bit like the Creature because the creature in this film owes a great deal of his look to the original Gill man from the famous Lagoon. Sally Hawkins is Elizabeth, a mute cleaning woman in a research facility in Baltimore Maryland which just happens to house a spectacular find, an amphibious creature held captive by research people and the military. One of the brilliant hooks is that she can’t speak and neither can he  but  the friendship  speaks louder than words . One of his captors is Strickland (Michael Shannon) one of the most reprehensible characters you will see this year. Even though this creature is certainly an advanced race with powers above and beyond our own Strickland and the Army plan to kill him to keep the Russians from getting their hands on it. And Free Willy because, oh come on you get it. 
Like I say these days everybody and his brother has a computer and a few hundred bucks can slap together some impressive Graphics but this is really out of the ordinary. A gritty and surreal early 60s look that never actually wears thin. With a satisfying ending this is definitely del Toro’s best work since Labyrinth.
A
WSS
 

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