Mexican Guillermo del Toro is a visual director. This term visual director is used for many other filmmakers as well. Zack Snyder is one. He, too, can create some fascinating, effective imagery and can make a great use of colours as seen in movies like 300. But del Toro is in a league of his own. At times, he has even been too visually-driven at the expense of plot and characters. His Spanish-language film, Pan’s Labyrinth (original name El laberinto del fauno) is one of the most beautiful and enchanting films one will ever see. Guillermo del Toro’s films encapsulate why film is such a visual medium. The Shape of Water may well be the best film he has ever made. And looking at his scintillating portfolio, isn’t that saying something.
The Shape of Water is essentially a love story. It is set in1960s. Sally Hawkins stars as a mute janitor at a government facility in Baltimore. A new creature, called Asset, comes to the facility. It is a humanoid. Hawkins instantly bonds with it. Hawkins, though mute, delivers better performance than most actors would have delivered vocally. The Shape of Water is how she really comes into the main picture, after playing second fiddle to inferior but more popular stars for years. Rest of the cast, including Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon (as the villain), complement her nicely.
The film flows smoothly like a poetry. It seems like this was the film Guillermo del Toro was born to make. He is at his best here. This love story is beautiful, pristine and pure. Without spoiling anything for you, the ending will break your heart at the same time fill you with joy at the lovely piece of filmmaking you just saw.