Always a spirited devotee of old-school Hollywood genres, Guillermo del Toro achieves in his latest film, “The Shape of Water,” an inspired melding of creature feature, spy thriller and wondrously perverse love storyline, the latter suffered by Sally Hawkins’ achingly sensitive performance as Eliza, a mute cleaning woman who immediately bonds with the imprisoned merman (enjoyed, by natural means, by Del Toro’s prosthetic-happy muse, Doug Jones).
But, there’s great acting all over the place you look in “The Shape of Normal water,” from Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins as Eliza’s dedicated friends to Michael Stuhlbarg as a doctor who becomes an unexpected ally, as well as Michael Shannon, almost too ideally cast as a scarily menacing federal agent.
The film got home the top reward at the Venice Film Festivity on Saturday and can make its Toronto International Film Festival premiere on Mon evening.
Jessica Chastain is rightly drawing raves for her forceful, breathtakingly managed work in “Molly’s Game.” Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut explains to the fiendishly complicated tale of what sort of very smart 26-year-old called Molly Bloom (Chastain) emerged to use a high-stakes playing ring that taken in Hollywood celebrities, Wall Road billionaires and Russian mobsters — a formula for very costly disaster but also for a sensationally engaging movie that maintains a tight grasp on the audience over practically 2 1/2 time.
Not least among its achievements, “Molly’s Game” drives a toe nail in to the coffin of the theory that voice-over is an anti-cinematic device. Sorkin remains a master of breathless, hyper-articulate verbiage; you may lower yourself with some of the dialogue volleys that Molly and her attorney (an excellent Idris Elba) fling back and forth. But in contrast along with his fact-based scripts for “The SOCIAL NETWORKING” and “Steve Careers,” this time around he depends heavily on his protagonist to share with her own storyline, and she does so, with nearly wall-to-wall narration it doesn’t waste an individual word.
It’s a pointed decision from a article writer who have often been taken to activity for his representations of women, and who may have clearly decided to greet that fee head-on. The gamble paid. By the end of “Molly’s Game,” Chastain isn’t the only person looking such as a winner.
Editor’s take note of: Times film critic Justin Chang is keeping a regular diary at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.