The Shape of Water (15)
Other than disappointing old school ghost story Crimson Peak in 2015, it’s been five years since Guillermo del Toro went behind the camera (Pacific Rim) – and 12 years since his last truly stellar flick (Pan’s Labyrinth).
We’re in similar gothic fantasy-drama territory to Pan’s here as Sally Hawkins’ mute cleaner Elisa forms a unique relationship with a creature, Amphibian Man (Doug Jones), kept in a top secret research facility at the height of the Cold War.
The Shape of Water has been nominated for a whopping 13 Oscars and it’s easy to see why the Academy was hypnotised by this beautifully shot, Beauty and the Beast-esque tale.
Del Toro shoots various shades of green, with splashes of browns and creams, to give his film a constant aquatic flavour – helped no end by seemingly never ending flows of water from buckets, drains, bath tubs, tanks, rivers and rainfall – and the sixties’ period is recreated impressively.
The script – co-penned by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor (Divergent, Hope Springs) – embodies the paranoia and closed-off views of the time, where a diner owner can become a truly repugnant presence based on four cutting lines.
It packs in a lot of different plot strands and while most work well, there are some that don’t
Breaking barriers Hawkins and Jones form a bond