It’s 1962 and, wow, the War is cold.
Spies are everywhere. Enemies are known and unknown.
And so a lab is brimming with intrigue in Baltimore as director Guillermo Del Toro sets up The Shape of Water from his screenplay written with Vanessa Taylor.
We have scientists teamed with government officials and regular folk trying to go about their business with far different agendas and one big secret.
The being in that tank. What to do with it? How to react to it?
It was dragged here from the Amazon, and the government thinks its powers, once analyzed, may give the U.S. a jump over Russia in the space race.
But regular worker Elisa sees something else inside the creature. And her co-cleaner, Zelda, never lets her down.
Wow, Sally Hawkins is something to behold as the strong and silent Elisa, and the remarkable Octavia Spencer stays strong in the supporting role. Richard Jenkins, too, gives a significant performance as a man who needs to find his place in their world Michael Shannon is plenty sinister as the prime government agent, and Michael Stulbarg keeps both sides guessing as a scientist who’s split with his allegiencies.
It’s a dance of immense weight and proportions as they struggle to make the most of their thoughts, deeds and connections.
Who’s right, who’s wrong, and what’s to become of all of them?
Del Toro carries this through with his plenty of punch.