Having lit up the boards at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Gillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water looks like it might be one to watch. As you’d expect from the writer and director of Pan’s Labyrinth, the story is pretty unconventional, but it also looks set to be another beautifully shot fantasy.
Sally Hawkins (Paddington 2) stars in the lead role, which pits her against the power of Michael Shannon (The Current War) with the life of a captive creature in the balance. It picked up a lot of critical acclaim following its premiere at TIFF and the trailer below looks impressive.
The Shape Of Water has a UK release date of Friday the 16th February 2018, which is more than two months after it’s arrival in the US on the 8th January 2017. However, that should add in even more reviews for the film before it lands in Britain.
A mute janitor called Elisa starts to befriend a trapped aquatic creature in the Occam Aerospace Research Facility in the US during the Cold War. Known as “the asset” the creature is a valuable part of the organisation’s research, so it’s kept in the facility against its will.
When Elisa stages a daring breakout, having developed feelings for the her blue beaux, she faces the wrath of Colonel Richard Strickland, the head of the facility. With pressure from his superiors to return the asset and fear that it could fall into the hands of the Russians, he stops at nothing to deliver.
Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, facing off against Michael Shannon as Colonel Richard Strickland with Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery) playing the Asset. The rest of the cast is made up of Octavia Spencer (The Help) as Elisa’s friend and work colleague Zelda, Richard Jenkins (Kong: Skull Island) as her neighbour Giles and Michael Stuhlbarg (Fargo Series 3) as the scientist in charge of the research on the creature.
The film has been given an age rating of PG for its screenings at TIFF.
Guillermo del Toro has written and directed The Shape Of Water, following on from his previous films Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak. You can keep tabs on him on his official Twitter page, but you might need Google translator every now and again for the infrequent Spanish.
Dan Laustsen (John Wick Chapter 2) was the director of photography having worked with del Toro on Crimson Peak, and Sidney Wolinsky (House Of Cards) has edited the film. Alexandra Desplat (Alone In Berlin) has created the score.
With a unique fantasy storyline set within the early 1960s as the Cold War is in full swing, The Shape Of Water is a very different beast to anything else coming to the big screen over the next six months. Review scores have been high already with an average of 4/5 stars following its screening at TIFF, so this could be one not to miss on the big screen.
The trailer alone is stunning enough, with exceptional cinematography from Laustsen and the magic of Alexandra Desplat’s score running through it. The cast is very strong and they’ve been given excellently crafted set environments and costumes to work in, which adds a lot to the delivery.
With Paddington 2 coming out later this year, Sally Hawkins has clearly been very busy over the last year or so, and her part in del Toro’s romantic fantasy could well be one of her best performances to-date. Michael Shannon hasn’t always been perfect playing the bad guy, having disappointed a little as Zod in Man Of Steel, but her he looks to be in unshakable form. If it all comes together as well as it appears, then The Shape Of Water may well be in for a few awards nods in the New Year.