The Shape of Water            review by Bobby Blakey

There are few filmmakers out there with the unique vision of Guillermo del Toro. He is known for announcing projects that never get made, but when they do they are usually something special. His latest The Shape of Water looks to be another of those films and stars Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, Doug Jones, Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins and David Hewlett, but is this another of his brilliant pieces of original storytelling or will it drown before it can swim?

The Shape of Water follows an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment. I have been looking forward to this film since the first trailer so was so happy to see that it is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. There is a reason this film was nominated for so many Golden Globes and they are well worth it. The story is moving and reaches into that place of acceptance and hate without ever being too preachy or forcing it down your throat.

Guillermo del Toro has crafted something that stands out that walks that line between dark fairy tale, love story and the struggles of isolation and loneliness all while keeping you intrigued by the characters involved. The entire cast are excellent, but this is Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones all the way. Their chemistry without ever saying a word is moving and believable making you connect with them in ways that you might not expect. Hawkins showcases so much range and says so much without a sound that you want to see more of her throughout. Michael Shannon is great as always as is the always awesome Richard Jenkins. Octavia Spencer offers up the most laughs and moral compass working in perfection conjunction with Hawkins.

Doug Jones portrayal of the fish man is mesmerizing. He brings so much to the role in his physicality alone that you know everything he is trying to convey with little effort. Visually the creature is amazing to look at. I love the attention to details on him and applaud the man in suit direction that is so often tossed aside for sloppy CGI. The film is visually stunning on all levels and uses the backdrops to help tell its story throughout.

This is easily one my favorite films of the year and offers up everything I could have hoped for and more.  Del Toro has once again proven that his visual style and flair for storytelling shines with what I think might be his best film to date up there alongside Pan’s Labyrinth, but for me more superior.

This release not only includes the film but bonus content including trailers and featurettes that take you behind bringing this dark fairytale to life. Step into the deep end and grab your copy of The Shape of Water on Digital February 27th and then on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13th from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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