Quite simply – it’s a brilliant movie. Yet another visual spectacle by Guillermo del Toro, but strangely a positive one.
I hate to do this, but the structure of the movie is quite spectacular and natural that I can’t help but, see it analyzed.
We see the routine of the protagonist (my favorite kind of exposition), we learn what she likes and what her present condition is. Just like Morgan Freeman’s ritual in Seven, Elisa has a taste for music, shoes and tap dancing. Such an elegant creature wastes away her youth and sexuality, staying a beard to the homosexual roommate (Richard Jenkins).
The theatre downstairs is just a tease to pull her into the romance of fiction, a reality to weave and escape from the harsh ones.
The second act of the movie is just a breeze. It flows right into the intensities, and there aren’t any unnecessary side tracks to bore you. There are some fine details like sharply witted dialogues, that wouldn’t quite translate here. You must see how well paced this movie is, you’d wonder why there isn’t any Intermission (if you’re watching the movie in the Indian pop-corn selling theatres).
Literally, the dance between reality and fantasy, elements of science and mythology – a reference to the God of ocean worshiped by the Amazon (bow & arrow people) were well fed to the audience in a timely manner.
But, there were clear clues to the ongoing of the movie. One could predict what could possibly happen, given the few choices and pacing of the story. I felt this to be Guillermo’s most light-hearted movie with a lot of humour.
Memorable moments (SPOILERS)
Michael Shannon pulled off an yet another bad guy, who can be loved for his tenacity. He has his fingers bitten off by the water creature (who remains nameless in the movie), and they are carried in a paper bag with mayo in it. After a while, the doctors sew it back; but does it take? No, it turns black and smells awful – he stills holds on to it, like a bad grudge; only to pull them off for dramatic effect!
In another scene, where Rob/Dimitri – the good scientist gets shooten off by his own people; Shannon shows up. Was he trying to help out the guy? No way hose, he picks him like a Marlin – using his fingers as a hook through the bullet hole in the doc’s face. I couldn’t watch that scene, it reminded me that I’m watching a Del Toro movie.
Where’s the fun? (SPOILERS)
Well, there are a lot of fun things in the movie. Shannon’s character – Colonel gets a fancy new Caddy which is Teal not Green; only to be dented by Giles – the toupe wearing homosexual. Another moment with Giles in the Pie stall, reeks of fun and desperation. Even though they are terrible, he gets the Key Lime Pie every day to just speak with the young store-manager. But, turns out his gaydar was wrong, the store manager isn’t just racist, but also homophobic.
I noticed the fact that they speak about ‘the pussy finger’ in an open manner, but the word bastard got to be censored; even in an R movie?
It’s crystal clear that the lightheartedness would definitely end in a high tone. But, the way it did – froze me in a moment of trance. It was surreal, to see love visualized in a most poetic manner. As they get to be together forever, she loses one of her shoe – the red shoe that she wore to show off her happiness in her cruel routine of not being noticed by anyone. I see it as a sign of her freedom from her boredom. She outgrows the little world and enters a one she dreamed of!
I realize now why there was such an emphasis on dialogue. All those witty comments on sex, relationship and marriage was devised to maintain a ease – yet prove to be a relief. Also, they were used to emphasize the silence of Elisa, a mute girl who needs assistance to convey her thoughts.
Zelda: Never trust a man, even if he looks flat down there.
She gets her special YELLOW(I hated that) colored subtitles, except for one intense scene where Giles and Elisa discuss breaking out the creature from the lab.
Giles: But, he’s not even human!
Elisa: If we don’t help, so are we!!
Sight & Sound
That’s the theme of The Shape of Water. Now, I was mesmerised by it. And, it set the overall tempo of the movie. How things progress, the mood and the rise and fall where all timed to and in-sync with Alexendare Desplat’s beautiful music.
But, all the while I had a similar piece of music in my head. A similar romantic theme, going on in loops and taking me away a little and deep into the story in the same while.
That’s right, that’st the Oscar-winning score for Up by Michael Giacchino. I don’t know where they strike together – but they do somehow. And, it’s just splendid to see such a well made movie, in the present when I’m dallying with a similar situation. Unrequited or not,
Most natural painkiller there is.