Film review: The Shape of Water **

No girl wants her boyfriend to smell of fish – but what if he actually is a fish? There are many reasons why a romantic relationship between a human woman and a scaly aquatic creature might be problematic – but of course it’s easier when the creature is a regal Amazonian god with the power to heal, and even easier when the woman is a mute, ignored and marginalised in early-60s America. “I make no sound, just like him,” signs Elisa (Sally Hawkins), seeing a fellow freak in the captive fish-man. The monster has been captured by US troops during an oil-drilling expedition in the Amazon; spear-wielding natives tried to resist, reports Strickland (Michael Shannon) with a chuckle, and were presumably slaughtered. Strickland, of course, is the true monster, a racist military man and probable misogynist who likes his wife to keep quiet during sex – and later comes on to Elisa precisely because he likes her silence. The Shape of Water has a similar dynamic to Pan’s Labyrinth by the same director, Guillermo del Toro: the outlandish horror of a fantastical Other dwarfed by the everyday horrors committed by authority and the Establishment. I should say right now […]

© 2018, Moderator. All rights reserved.