Monday, October 25, 2010

Open Water

Directed by Chris Kentis.
2004. Rated R, 79 minutes.
Blanchard Ryan
Daniel Travis
Michael E. Williamson
Saul Stein

Susan (Ryan) and Daniel (Travis) go on vacation to an exotic island and go on a deep sea dive in the middle of the ocean. As luck would have it, the company they paid to go on this little excursion goofs up the head count and takes off while our loving couple is well beneath the surface enjoying some aquatic wildlife. When they come up, they discover what we already know and try to come to grips with the situation. Obviously, they also attempt to hang on until someone grows a brain and comes back for them or someone else happens to sail by and pick them up.

Watching our two lovebirds try to cope and their relationship deteriorate while disruptive sea creatures swirl about and nibble at them is fascinating theater. The sense of abandonment and isolation creates tension and hopelessness which serve the film well. The lack of budget also works to its advantage. Instead of animatronics and CGI, we get creative shots and patient storytelling that gets better as it goes along.

It can be a bit tedious because the camera spends so much time trained on our stranded couple. Just as they find themselves hopelessly drifting, your attention may occasionally do the same. What’s happening back on land is thrown in every now and again. However, until we get near the end, it’s completely pointless so it doesn’t give us anything else to mull over. Thankfully, this is combated by a very short 79 minute runtime.

Full disclosure: I was so ready to hate this movie. Over the handful of years since it came out I’d heard so much about how great it was I’d automatically started to bristle at the notion that it could even be good. There’s just way too much hype surrounding it. I mean, how great could watching two people float around in the water be? As it turns out, it’s not bad. It’s not the greatest thing since Atari 2600, like some have claimed, but pretty good, nonetheless.

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

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