Saturday, March 17, 2018
The Shape Of Monsters!
Finally at last got to see The Shape of Water. I wanted to catch this modern monster flick when it first dropped last fall, but it played nowhere near me that I could find convenient. So it swam away and I figured I'd have to wait for the DVD (which I'll snatch up posthaste). But by winning the Oscar this movie was given a new life in the theaters and finally stopped long enough in my vicinity for me to sample.
Of course this movie is an unofficial sequel of sorts to the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon. The "Gill-Man" in this Guirellmo Del Toro effort is visually distinctive enough to not violate any trademarks, but for any fan of vintage monsters the comparison is inescapable. The creature in this movie was found and captured in the Amazon where it was the object of mythic lore. Snatched and brought to the United States of the early 60's, this creature is treated like an animal in a test lab and subjected to physical abuse while scientists try to glean enough understanding of its biology to assist the manned space program.
The movie is a blistering indictment of a society ruled by the whims and privileges of white men and we see how others in the society (women in general, people of color, homosexuals, and those with handicaps) are belittled and demeaned by the ascendant order. (Michael Shannon is the villain of this piece and he's magnetic and comes damn near stealing the film.)
The romance which blossoms between the creature (Doug Jones) and a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) desperate to connect with someone worthy of her attentions is a story which redefines and broadens the definition of what is properly human and acceptable in the spectacle of human society. The ascendant order fails because it is too blind to see the capabilities of those who live in their midst, a silent majority of another stripe which will we know in coming decades increasingly demand their place in the order of society.
But at its core this is a lovely romance, a love story for the ages. It's a fable of a woman who finds another to love, someone who understands her in ways others cannot, even those she calls friends. This is a story of outsiders and those who have become alienated from their worlds and who seek to connect with someone or something who will deem them worthy. It's no less than all of us deserve and this movie affirms that truth.