There is a hole in your shape.
(It’s award consideration season and I’m playing catch-up. As I tear through them, I thought I’d try mini-reviews. Enjoy!)
The Shape of Water is another attempt by Guillermo del Toro to convince us he is anything more than weird creatures. To be fair, Pacific Rim was absurdly entertaining and the Hellboy movies are guilty pleasures, but everything else he has made has been a letdown. Right off the bat, I thought The Shape of Water was heading in that same disappointing direction because the opening scene features our heroine, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), masturbating in a bathtub. Other than to convince the men in the audience not to leave (we see Hawkins fully nude), the scene serves no purpose.
Luckily, the film gets to the main attraction quickly – a merman being held captive for study by the U.S. government to get a leg up on the Russians in the space race (the film takes place in the 1960s). Okay, so del Toro still has a lot to learn about coherent writing, but the film is pretty good when it focuses on its real story – Elisa falling in love with the merman and hatching a plan to help him escape before he is killed. It’s classic Beauty and the Beast, but with boobs and scary-ass Michael Shannon as the heartless agent running the lab.
As long as you can get past the out-of-place (and bad) French-esque music and massive plot hole of there being cameras everywhere in the facility except the room containing the merman, it’s a pretty engaging and entertaining film. If nothing else, you can stay for the unique sex scene that del Toro invented.
Rating: Ask for two dollars back. One for the music and one for the plot hole.