There are some directors that stand out in the crowd. Not because of their looks, or where they are from. It is more about the way they make movies, and their own style. Of course there are many directors who have proved their amazing work over the years, but i am thinking about one certain director from Mexico. If you remember the name of Guillermo Del Toro, i believe you might have seen some of his film. My first introduction to his work, was back in the year of 1997 with the American horror film Mimic. At the time the film came out, i did enjoy the film. A horror film with huge cockroaches attacking humans. It was not a unique horror film in any way, but still a good time. My next encounter with director Guillermo Del Toro was with the Spanish horror film The Devil´s Backbone. The film takes place during the Spanish Civil War in 1939. A very effective horror film, that combined classic elements into history. I strongly advice you to check out The Devil´s Backbone if you have not seen it. But his next film was a big surprise, when he decided to direct Blade 2 with Wesley Snipes. This is definitely the best Blade film, and one of the best horror action films in many years, and you could tell that Guillermo have worked hard to make a Blade movie that would please fans of the comic books. Wesley Snipes of course in the lead role, also did a really good job as the character. Guillermo continued on his path with comic book characters, and directed the film adaptation of Hellboy with Ron Perlman in 2004. I enjoyed the film, especially because Ron Perlman was a really good choice as Hellboy. But it was in 2006 when the whole world would open their eyes on a completely different level, when Guillermo´s next film Pan´s Labyrinth was released in theatres. This film was quickly seen as one of the best films of 2006, and both movie critics and audiences loved this story, set during the Spanish Civil War. This is in many ways a very unique movie experience, with a dark and mysterious fairy tale touch. Guillermo continued to direct more films, including the very majestic action film Pacific Rim ( a must own on blu ray ). When i heard about his latest project called The Shape Of Water, i was hooked up instantly. It seemed to be a throwback to old school cinema, and also bring some other elements from classic movies. I finally got a chance to see this film in a cinema, hoping that my big expectations would turn out to be positive. Is this another wonderful film by director Guillermo Del Toro, or has the magic run out of course ?
The year is 1962 in Baltimore. Elisa Esposito ( Sally Hawkins ) is mute and communicates through sign language. When she was a child, she was found in a river with mysterious scars on her neck. She works in a secret government laboratory as a cleaning lady. Her only friends are her next door neighbor Giles ( Richard Jenkins ), who is a gay advertising illustrator, and her co-worker Zelda ( Octavia Spencer ) who also help Elisa being her interpreter. One day, the facility receive a tank with a creature captured by Colonel Richard Strickland ( Michael Shannon ). Elisa is curious, and finds out that the creature is a humanoid amphibian, known as The Asset ( Doug Jones ). Elisa begin to visit the creature, and become closer attached to the beast. Colonel Richard is ordered to vivisect the creature, while scientist Robert Hoffstetler ( Michael Sthulbarg ) hopes to continue to do studies of the creature. His vision seems to fail, as it is clear that the plan is to kill the creature eventually. Elisa will not let this happen, so ask her best friends Giles and Zelda to help her save the beast. Colonel Richard find out what Elisa is trying to do, and he will not give up until the beast is dead.
I am not surprised why The Shape Of Water is praised by critics worldwide, and nominated for so many Academy Awards. This is a very magical film, that have so many elements of quality. You have beautiful cinematography by Dan Laustsen, and the costume design looks gorgeous. There is also a very magical story, that reminds me of the classic Beauty And The Beast theme, with elements from the classic Creature From The Black Lagoon. This combination, with really powerful performances from the cast, makes The Shape Of Water a very unique experience. This is not a horror film, this is more of a fantasy drama, with influences from science fiction. The main character Elisa ( played wonderful by actor Sally Hawkins ), is a woman who may not speak, but have so many emotions inside of her. The way she shows her emotions towards this beast, is pure magic. The film clearly shows, that when you fall in love, it does not matter if someone looks different, or is not normal. It is all about chemistry and emotions. Legendary actor Doug Jones ( who have worked with director Guillermo Del Toro on several films together ) does a splendid performance as the Amphibian Man. With this amazing detailed costume, and the way he moves on screen, i guarantee that you will feel the cinema magic from start to finish. We also have legendary actor Michael Shannon here, as Colonel Richard. Finally we get to see Michael Shannon shine again, on the acting level we all love to see him do. I was worried after the film Salt And Fire, if he would come back to where we need him most. And he really does shine in this film, even if his character is one mean bastard. The story feels very interesting, and is really well executed throughout the film. It is simple, but that is also a good choice. Sometimes you can make a movie magical, just by adding small simple details. I belive that this film also manage to show, that no matter what handicap you have, you have the same emotions and feelings as any other human being. The Shape Of Water is one of the most beautiful films i have seen in a very long time. Director Guillermo Del Toro really is a master at making majestic movies, that have so much to say. I would not be surprised if this film takes home many Academy Awards this weekend, because the film deserves every nomination that the film have been nominated in. Run to the cinema and watch The Shape Of Water, we finally have cinema magic brought back on screen in the best possible way.