‘Open Water’ (2003) Movie Review
Directed & Written by Chris Kentis
Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, and Saul Stein
Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat has left.
I’m not overly terrified of sharks or snakes like a lot of people, but this quiet tale about two divers accidentally stranded at sea, might have changed my mind. Susan and Daniel, two certified divers are away on a romantic getaway when their lives change for the worst. This film is based on a true story; something that bothered me considerably when things get dark. The constantly churning water wears on you after some time, and I found myself doing something I don’t often do – putting myself in the protagonist’s shoe. The intense fear and gloom this real life couple felt, had to be indescribable.
Once the couple discover they’ve been mistakenly abandoned, they’re annoyed but hopeful. As the reality seeps in, emotions change with the rolling waters. Anger, blame, terror, hope; the range of feelings we’re forced to endure is taxing. The primal fear is impossible to avoid. There’s something about bobbing defenseless, blindly, in the ocean that strikes terror in my heart. The fear of not knowing what’s circling underneath would give me cardiac arrest. Once again, it’s hard to watch knowing it’s a true story.
The couple literally float in the water for an hour of the film, never waxing poetically or shifting to deep conversations. Instead, we hear the believable dialogue of two people who know they’re kidding themselves. If exposure doesn’t kill them, if sharks don’t tear them to shreds, they stand every chance of drowning or dying of simple dehydration. Wise words from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner come to mind. Filmed with simple digital cameras, we feel every bobbing wave of water and fear. It feels more like a candid video than a professionally filmed movie. If you can take the intense nature of Open Water, it’s a great film that sadly focuses on dire circumstances. I’ll be thinking about this the next time I’m in the water.
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