Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro is back with an impressive follow up to The Shape of Water, making another play for an Academy award. This treat of a neo-noir thriller is full of Hollywood favourites, and that star power keeps you strapped in your seat. Bradley Cooper and Willem Dafoe turn in particularly stunning performances, and Toni Colette is as stunning as ever—she really never misses.
The sets are rich and vibrant, and often come across as intensely theatrical. The carnival ‘House of Damnation’ is an especially freaky funhouse that you’ll have trouble forgetting as you fall asleep at night. Expert precision in the design and lighting make it feels as if the actors are performing across a stage. This creates a really uncomfortable juxtaposition with the graphic and cruel qualities of the story. This strange tension is deeply compelling, and draws you into the twisting plot for a long two and a half hour run time.
As per, del Toro nails that difficult and dark Grimm’s fairy tale tone. He crafts a mood specific to his tastes and never lets up. It’s a film for the brave, so proceed with caution.
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