The Faberge Egg: A thing of undoubted beauty, extremely costly but serving no real purpose.
So it is with The Shape of Water.
Constantly Guillermo del Toro leaves me disappointed. Pan’s Labrynth especially and now this much hyped ‘masterpiece’. Both miss the target by some distance for me. (I’ll give you, he nailed it in both Cronos – a long time ago now – and Hellboy.)
There’s much to like about The Shape of Water (but NOT the music which is standard fare and I’m puzzled as to why it won the BAFTA). The design is superb, it really is a sumptuous feast both in period detail, cinematography and mood and the sets are great.
Sally Hawkins is fine in the role of a mute who falls in love with a fishy ‘monster’ but why, oh why, does she need to get full frontal naked and masturbate in her bath in the opening scenes of the movie. Wholly gratuitous.
Octavia Spencer puts in a decent shift in the supporting female role but, oh my gosh, this is not an Oscar-worthy performance. (Exactly the same can be said about the mystifying nomination for Mary J. Blige in Mudbound – I’ll leave you to your own conclusions on why these were Academy nominated.)
Both the male leads are on form; Michael Shannon as the nasty finder and torturer of the fish man and Richard Jenkins as Hawkins’ neighbourly friend and the narrator; an alcoholic, cat-loving, adman fallen on hard times.
My biggest criticism lies with the script, or more correctly, the plot which has holes the size of the budget (actually, on checking it was only $19.4m, so my Faberge analogy is stretched a little. Author’s note: Faberge Eggs sell from around $6m to $33m.)
OK it’s a fantasy movie but it’s pretty silly really and stretches credibility throughout.
I wanted to like this, I really did and I don’t dislike it, it’s just so fundamentally flawed that its 13 Oscar nods verge on ludicrous. I don’t think it will take home more than three (I wouldn’t give it any with a possible exception for design) – Best Movie most certainly should not be one of them.