Art by @battery_full

“When he looks at me he does not know how I am incomplete.”

Despite its length and, at times, proclivity to ramble, this ranks at the top of Del Toro’s filmography of monsters. Perhaps just a notch below Pan’s Labyrinth.

It also bagged Best Picture, Best Musical Score, Best Production Design, and a Best Director plum for Guillermo Del Toro at the 90th Academy Awards.

Attempting a Monster x Human love story without falling into B-movie pastiche is difficult enough, but making it with a creature as left field as one of Hellboy’s Abe Sapien’s brothers raises the stakes pretty damn high.

GDT shoots this with beautiful cinematography. It also includes a heart-wrenching score by Alexandre Desplat. The director looks upon this tale of two outsiders finding each other in the unlikeliest place with kindness.

The monster isn’t really the most interesting thing in this story as much as he is the gravitational center. It’s Sally Hawkins’ embattled, mute, janitress Eliza Esposito versus Michael Shannon’s masochist gov’t Agent Strickland that’s the lightning in this exotic, volatile bottle. By now Shannon’s villains, from Boardwalk Empire’s Van Alden to Man of Steel’s Zod, are the gold standard for three-dimensional bad guys.

With the added levity and grounded common sense of Octavia Spencer, everything on this sludgy, visionary epic of 123 minutes is a sight to behold. A vision of love unfettered by borders.

 

KDM