Set in a secret government laboratory at the height of the Cold War, a visually dazzling, emotionally daring feat of the imagination erupts. Beginning underwater the entire film decomes an act of breathless submersions as you’re plunged into a 1960s world full of things you’ll recognise – power, anger, intolerance as well as loneliness, determination and sudden, electrifying connections. As the story sets in we are introduced to an inexplicable biological “asset” of the U.S. government, a mute Cleaning woman, her loving best friends, Soviet pies and an audacious theft that all flow into a singular romance that surges beyond all boundaries.
Progressing further we are introduced to Del Toro’s other-worldly charachter. Merging the pathos and thrills of the classic monster movie tradition with shadowy film noir we meet a creature whom is clearly hauled up from the dark, watery depths and as this mystery shrouded amphibious being begins to show us his fundamental adaptive qualities of water – taking on the psychic contours of every human he encounters, reflecting back both aggression and fathomless love we are stirred into the heat of a love story like no other, one that explores the fantasies we all flirt with, the mysteries we can’t control and the monstrosities we must confront. Showing us that it’s okay to be who you are this wondrous film tackles the themes of good and evil, innocence and menace the historical and the eternal while beauty and monstrosity weave in and out of each other revealing that no darkness can ever fully defeat the light.
If you’re yet to still see the incredible work that is the Shape of Water then what are you waiting for? The film is in all good picture theatres now and while I have a first-look for you below I encourage you to all go and see this true masterpiece by the highly talented and widely acclaimed Guillermo Del Toro that will leave you in total peace understanding that humans are exactly what they want to be.
photos by Fox Searchlight Pictures / Kerry Hayes.