The Shape of Water 4K Ultra HD Review
In the 1950's, there is a secret government facility that tests and observes unique items. There is testing being done and oddities being studied. Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins; Blue Jasmine) is a mute cleaning lady who works nights at the facility. She has a set routine that doesn't seem to vary day in and day out. She sleeps all day, takes a bath, makes her hard-boiled eggs, feeds her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins; Step Brothers) while they "chat" via sign language and meets her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer; Hidden Figures) each night as they go about their business cleaning the facility.
Then, one night, a new "creature", Amphibian Man (Doug Jones; Pan's Labyrinth), that was captured in South America shows up. Part man, part fish (or so it seems), it is revered by the locals who saw it as a god. Elisa, who feels sorry for it, tries to befriend it with hard-boiled eggs and music. They eventually form a bond and when Elisa finds out it is being threatened she, with some help from her friends, takes drastic measures to save the creature. This leads to a most unusual "relationship" that ultimately puts Elisa's life in danger.
The cast is excellent, especially Hawkins who says so much without uttering a word. Her counterpart, of course, Jones is well versed in playing creatures so his expertise comes in handy in this movie as he too expresses so much without speaking (at least not any sound a human being would recognize). Jenkins and Spencer are strong but that is to be expected from them. Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) as Richard Strickland, the security and harsh interrogator of the creature, is as phenomenal as we have ever seen him. Honorable mention needs to go to Michael Stuhlbarg (Men in Black 3), who plays a scientist who wishes to study the creature while spying on the US government for Russia.
The 4K Blu-ray offers exceptional video quality since it is presented in upscaled 2160p resolution with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The detail on the face and body of the creature is so exact that it is truly a beautiful thing to watch. The DTS- HD Master audio 5.1 compliments the video beautifully. There is a subtle blend of dialog and ambient noise that immerses (pun intended) the audience and surrounds the viewer. The extras in the combo pack are housed on the regular Blu-ray and include: A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times, Anatomy of a Scene: Prologue, Anatomy of a Scene: The Dance, Shaping the Waves: A Conversation with James Jean, Guillermo del Toro's Master Class, and Theatrical Trailers.
There are numerous reasons why The Shape of Water won several Oscar awards. It's an interesting story that is beautifully acted and masterfully directed. However, I disagree with the result that The Shape of Water was the best picture last year. The whole film is weird and the ending goes too far over the edge for me. Regardless, it is a fantastic movie that I am sure changes with every subsequent viewing.
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 123 minutes
Distributed By: Fox Searchlight Pictures
About Allison Hazlett-Rose
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