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  1. Published on: 01/02/2018 09:54 AMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A janitor to a secret facility forms a unique relationship with the buildings latest acquisition.

    Director Guillermo Del Toro has a had strange but successful career so far. While he is highly regarded by critics, the majority of choices he makes are more blockbuster based. With films such as Blade II, Hellboy or Pacific Rim.

    But every so often he does these really touching dramas, and the obvious example is Pan's Labyrinth, his most acclaimed film so far.

    The Shape Of Water is certainly something pretty close to that in terms of the tone and the message that is similar to many fairy-tales.

    While the story was intriguing me up to a point in the first half, it was the production that was not just very impressive, but pretty much perfect. Del Toro is well known for his heavily detailed practical sets and this is another gorgeous one to look at. There is one setting that is in a facility, and a lot of it reminded me of Gore Verbinski's 'A Cure For Wellness'. There were also some moments that reminded me of Amelie in terms of how the shots were executed and the small quirky shifts in tone.

    But the longer the film and the more the story developed, the bigger my investment was to the entire product.

    There is a romance angle in the second half that will most certainly make or break the audiences views. It could be a real turn-off for them, or it might be seen as something special. At first, I did feel it was peculiar. But I understood what Del Toro and his team was going for, so I accepted it. It was not until the finale that consisted of some strong scenes that won me over and I believed in the romance and became invested in it.

    For me, a film that has a strong ending has a chance of changing my entire view of the film. For most of the film, I thought it was very good in its construction. But I wasn't going nuts for the story. However, I really enjoyed how they finished it and that made me remember the previous scenes in the film with great fondness.

    The acting on the whole pretty top-notch. Sally Hawkins does a great with her character and accomplishes something that I don't think many actors could pull off. Michael Shannon is always good value, and he is great as the main villain. Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg did not feel that exceptional. But they did the stuff that we know them for well. It feels ages since I have seen Richard Jenkins in something, and his performance definitely reminded how talented this guy is.

    Particular props have to go for Doug Jones who follows on from his performance as Abe Sapian in the Hellboy films. His track record as a physical actor is pretty solid, especially with Del Toro's films. He's the type of actor that I think should work with people like Andy Serkis in future projects.

    As mentioned before, the production is quite an accomplishment. But I must add my praises to the score by Alexandre Deplat. I found it rather enchanting, whilst having its moments of charm, mystery and intrigue. Don't be surprised if this wins the major awards.

    Speaking of awards, I feel its current success in them is warranted and deserved. It might not be one of my films of 2017. But it's pretty damn close.

    The only down side I had to it was that there is one side-story that I was not bothered by and it kind of kept slowing the momentum down.

    But on the whole, this is a really delightful fantasy romance. I know a lot of people won't take this film seriously by the end of it, but if you know what Del Toro is like, then you can be swept away by this.

    I liked the message that it was saying, the character development is strong, as is the visual story-telling and I think all of these aspect worked really well together and it has had me thinking about it for some time. Only Del Toro could have executed this type of romance story.

    A final thought. Once you've seen it, it is damn hard to ignore that this could easily be a prequel to a particular character from the Hellboy franchise.

    Rating: 8/10
     

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    Your Comments:


  3. susanb says:29/03/2018 02:04 PM
    I thought it was very slow. The plot is mute girl falls in love with a water dwelling man type. She helps him escape and they swim off together.

    Glad I didn't' pay money to see it.

  4. Film Critic says:29/03/2018 11:04 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by susanb View Post
    I thought it was very slow. The plot is mute girl falls in love with a water dwelling man type. She helps him escape and they swim off together.

    Glad I didn't' pay money to see it.
    That's ok. You're not alone on this. A film that wins Best Picture at the Oscars is always on that pedestal that is just waiting to be knocked down.


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