A fizzy concoction of twisty mystery, genuine relationships (see Kimura and father; the citrus brothers), well-choreographed combat, and tanks of humour that occasionally go off the rails (the dark comedic takes on death go a bit too far at times–see The Hornet fight), all within a fun flashback-filled script framework built around Brad’s bad-luck (or should I say ill-fated?) ‘Bug. Loses steam in the third act though, with its shift from wild multi-party conflict to straight forward team-up.
An engaging and hilarious whodunnit with one of its biggest twists being an early reveal and a shift in the point of tension that works wonderfully well and adds a good heaping of heart to the already whip-smart script (see the knife line tie-in at the end, the return of the mug in one of the best final shots I’ve ever seen). The final twist is well-drawn but a little drawn-out, but that’s the only misstep in this marvelously decorated, cleverly edited, and perfectly acted mystery/family drama.
At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. (IMDb)
Any shallowness or slight weirdness of the central romance is swept away by the film’s superbly engaging storybook feel. Tasteful bits of narration (the ending poem is lovely) bookend a satisfyingly spun (and lovingly scored and shot) fairy tale of charming outsiders (Elisa’s the perfect “strong and silent” protagonist-see her “FU” to Strickland) and menacing monsters (the prejudice of the 50s setting adds an effective dramatic element). Whimsical humour and poignant recurring motifs top it off.