b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Movie Review: Open Water 

During the introductory credits of Open Water, you learn that the film is based on true events. By the time the finishing credits roll, you might wonder how a true-life scenario could ever get so fouled up.

It isn't that Open Water's story is absurd. The story is beyond absurd. Now I have never read the full account of the event on which the movie was based, so Open Water could have presented an accurate depiction of how two divers struggle for survival, alone, in the middle of the ocean. But the way the movie sets it up is far-fetched and seemingly unbelievable.

In retrospect I wish I hadn't known anything about the situation, because my friend Robert, who expected a certain kind of ending, loved the movie. Had I not known the outcome, I might have shared his perspective, and thus, had a better opinion of it.

Anyway, I digress. Its unbelievability isn't what soured me. True or not, dramatic effect often alters reality and I understand the need for it. But the way Open Water glosses over minor details left me scratching my head (and I'm hesitant to get too into those details, because I wouldn't want to ruin anything for those who still wish to see it).

In that "glossing over" aspect comes another problem I had with the movie. Open Water does a few things well. Its mix of suspense and fear will keep the senses sharp, and if you can watch this movie and even think about going diving anytime soon, well, then you're a better man than me. My problem, though, is that I didn't much care. Except for the obvious fact that they're fellow human beings, I had no reason to feel sympathetic toward their plight.

In an age where movies often stretch beyond the two hour mark, Open Water settles in at seventy-nine minutes. About two-thirds of that is spent with the husband-wife duo of Susan and Daniel (Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis) alone in the ocean, which means that very little was spent developing their characters. Director Chris Kentis suggested a stressful marriage and hectic professional life for the two, but ambiguous hints and vague dialogue do not suffice for a backstory.

As I said, I was often left scratching my head, especially when you throw in the most incongruous nude scene in recent film history. By the end of the movie, I was left shaking my head, because Kentis took a great concept and molded a sloppy mess of a movie from it.



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?