A good review

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Posted by Jeff Shaw on August 22, 2004 at 21:49:00:

In Reply to: "OPEN WATER" - a review posted by AADIVER on August 21, 2004 at 08:46:58:

Well I finally saw it last night. (don’t read on if you don’t want the plot revealed)

I was a minor in film history for a while and did not even own a television during that time. Instead I had a pass to the FOX Venice. They played a different movie every night and I went. Between that and college I saw a lot of films good and bad. Including Blue Water, White Death.

I liked Open Water, with some issues...

The first thing I noticed was a somewhat staid meter to the timing of the setup. The cuts and dramatic ‘shoot through the branches of a tree’ were almost cliché film school kind of stuff. The lack of superior work here kind of sets up the viewer for an expectation of banal workmanship. Some of it was a bit flat to be sure. But you have to remember that this is not a Jerry Bruckheimer production. Ever see some early Peter Weir stuff? This was kind of like that, but not so obtuse. So I forgive this style or lack of it. It is low budget. There was not a lot of focus pulling acrobatics, or helicopter shots. It is not that kind of film. There was going to be no Industrial Light and Magic logo in the credits.

Really the most outstanding things that we are missing besides Hollywood Score, was a near lack of comic relief. The head in the shark statue was almost funny. But real couples joke around and have these little idiosyncrasies. The watcher of films get a voyeuristic view that even good friends don’t know about. The nude scenes were the closest that we get to the couple acting real with one another out of the water. OK, maybe a bit too real since she is eventually not in 'the mood'. Incidentally, Blanchard Ryan… is not an unattractive woman.

Then we get to the meat of the movie. The Boat. Can anyone remember a better depiction of the activities on a dive boat? The jerk without the mask was a classic boat scene. The aborted dive because of an ear problem. The crew and the dive briefing were right on. All of this stuff was so normal for us divers, we might think of it as a non event. The land lubbers might find it a curiosity. They even got to see a few giant strides.

Then the couple. This was the strength of the movie. They really went through a believable series of events. True belief that the boat was coming back. Blame. Disbelief that this was happening. Decisions not to attempt to swim to other boats. Frustrated bellowing. This is very believable behaviour. These actors did a good job of acting like people really might. All while wearing Bcs.

The shark attacks were subtle enough. No body did a “We need a bigger boat” line. There were some realistic references to dive magazines and Shark Week. I expected a brutal mauling. But what we got was something quite a bit different.

The dialog was quite real. It was probably not clever enough to satiate those of us who expected polished lines. Well OK, the last line is defiantly going to be remembered by the makers of those little yellow cameras.

But the ending gets my thumbs up for being subtle and dark.

-Jeff Shaw

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