So, yes… i kinda vanished…. again. Though this time i did it to everyone, not just you, if that helps…. I had some alone time, me time and i discovered that i hadn’t been happy. So i have this year immediately set about changing that, and just with a smile, a can do attitude and a social outlook, it’s been incredible just how full my life has become already! I have done more this last week than i did in an entire set of months last year and i feel so, so much better. So, once again, boomerang boy is back!Guillmero Del Toro – a master of atmosphere and setting. The drama and feel of his movies is so rich and thick it adds lb’s to your eye balls just from watching them. His movies ooze a full delicious center of real issues and conflict wrapped up in a decadently dramatic screenplay and suspense; and nothing from him has ever stuck in my throat.
This movie was no exception. I loved it.
To go deeper though, i thought this movie had a really great story centered around worship of God, or at least the worship of a God or a set of ideals. It looked at Gods not in the omnipotent state, but more as a set of goals, an ideal and a sense of what people believe is perfection achieved in life. Also it doesn’t reference worship as praying either but as dedicated and diligent work towards the “Gods” goals and ideals.
Let me explain…
The movie has 3 main sets of characters. We have:
- The shape of Water himself, with the protagonist and her not do fatherly farther figure of a friend. On a side note, the creature is almost certainly a re-incarnation of Abraham (Blue) from Toro’s Hellboy
- The main Villain of this tale and his commanding officer, and
- The Russian Spy and his handlers.
Now the setting is 1960’s America, and it’s important for you to know this because all this story is happening amidst the Red scare, racism, sexism, homophobic old time attitudes, mixed with the new age technology of nice modern cars, TV and the promise of science of a brighter future. Toro doesn’t shy away from any of these issues either, allowing the uglyness of what lie was in those times to glare through the cracks of this gritty rather noir style film.
In this dark picture of the world at that time – a very troubled and unsteady time, these three sets of characters each follow a different set of beliefs. We see the main character and her friend go from having a rather meaningless existence as they struggle against the world believing in nothing, to coming to believe in the creature, in what he can do and how he is. This gives meaning and purpose to their lives and drives the film forward.
The Villain and his commanding Officer worship the God that is America and serve him in doing their duty, rewarded by nuclear families, an obedient wife, a nice car, good kids, a steady job…. the American dream! And it’s really intense watching the Villain who has been a loyal subject of American society and their way of life for so long, struggle in the face of failure and beg forgiveness, that he has already proven his loyalty and done enough to keep his blessings. Only for his commanding officer to threaten him with a meaningless existence, no name and that he’d eventually just end up in a hole somewhere.
Also we have the Russian spy come scientist who’s God is Russia, very far away. This distance allows him the space and time to be attracted to the shiny new God of science offering promises of a brighter future, only his handlers remind him of where he came from and who he really serves in all this.
So the film tackles the mysteries of belief, doubt and finding faith in something that, although not a deity, can be God-like to your view if you live in a certain way. Kinda like how fans worship their fandoms.
The movie was incredible to watch, and the conclusion to all this was that the protagonist and hr friend were the only ones to keep their faith by the end, in something that couldn’t be explained or understood in any reasonable manner, against those who believe in a very clear and understandable way of life. It shows the power of faith and how also how dangerous that power can be when used to control people. A message that rings true to the troubles in today’s world.
As for the rest, grand cinematography, fantastic music and mostly above par acting. Only problem was one dream sequence that felt totally out of place. Like a grand crystal chandelier in a council house… beautiful, but doesn’t belong there.
That Other Guy