Vol. 11, No. 8 – Jan 17 – Jan 30, 2018 – Movie Review

The Shape of Water
Review: 4 Palm Trees out of 4

by Manuel Reynoso

The Shape of Water was one of those movies that I knew I had to see. Everything from the trailer, to the movie poster, egged me on to come see it. I try really hard not go into a film with high expectations. The hype around this film, plus the weight of Del Toro being attached as writer/director, made it impossible for me to go in without some amount of excitement. Walking out of the theater, I really wished I had seen it sooner.

The excellence of Del Toro’s directing style is seen in every inch of this film. Almost every frame of The Shape of Water have angles that really bring out strong diagonal relationships between the camera and the subject. This was something Del Toro has always been fond of, but I really see how well it can play with body language and emotion. Most of the cast’s performances were already remarkable, so watching the camera play off of their movement and expression added a great deal to their acting.

The world in which The Shape of Water takes place was also very intimate. The movie comprised of only a handful of locations, but Del Toro placed a great amount of care in each scene. The observant viewer will really be rewarded watching The Shape of Water. The little details within the scenes fleshes out the characters and world making subsequent viewings so much more satisfying.

At its core, The Shape of Water is a romance, and a simple one. While the plot may lack complexity, it more than makes up for it with the depth of the characters making up that story. Each of their motivations, relationships, and mannerisms are unique and paint a vivid picture of who each one is. So much of this characterization is done in natural, non-expositional ways. It really was a triumph in terms of how they handles character development throughout the course of the movie.

The Shape of Water really felt like Del Toro’s labor of love. I’m still astonished how beautiful some of the scenes were when the film itself was made on a small 18 million dollar budget. I can’t say whether this was my favorite film of 2017, but I can confidently say that Del Toro was my favorite director of the year. There’s a lot to learn about directing from this film for aspiring movie makers, and a lot to enjoy for everyone else. Do yourself a favor and see The Shape of Water. Rated R 2h3m

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