Louisa Krause, Sophie Lowe
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… a gripping and engaging ride.
There is a certain type of person in this race we call human who decides, quite out of nowhere, to brave the briny depths of the ocean and piss fart about in the watery domain of sharks and jelly blubbers. Quite what motivates these loose units to dive down and fart on Poseidon’s throne is a question the greatest psychiatric minds have yet to crack, but one thing’s for sure: said people can be very watchable in the medium of moving pictures. The Dive is the latest film to feature intrepid homo sapiens experiencing the life aquatic, and despite its bare bones nature, it manages to be pretty bloody effective.
The Dive is essentially a two-hander, featuring sisters May (Louisa Krause) and Drew (Sophie Lowe) going on a dive somewhere picturesque but remote. After a bit of splashing around, May is hit by falling debris and trapped under a huge rock, 28 metres underwater. It’s up to the younger, flightier Drew to manage May’s oxygen and find help, all while avoiding nitrogen narcosis and falling victim to her own mounting terror. And that’s it. That’s the movie. It’s a race against time with two sisters coping with a startlingly mundane – but deadly – situation and needing to use good sense and logic to survive.
Despite the spartan premise (or perhaps because of it), The Dive is a gripping and engaging ride. This is due in no small part to the excellent direction from Maximillian Erlenwein, who really captures the otherworldliness of the underwater environments in which we spend so much time. Also, major kudos to the two leads, with both actresses doing fine work here and Sophie Lowe proving an extremely likeable heroine that you’ll be rooting for, and possibly yelling at the screen in support.
Not everything works, mind you. There’s a backstory told through flashbacks that doesn’t quite land, possibly because the payoff isn’t particularly satisfying, and some of the sequences do skew a little murky, which is realistic but not always visually exciting. Still and all, for a movie about two ordinary people trying to survive despite the odds, this feels like the most satisfying of the subgenre since Danny Boyle’s underrated 127 Hours.
The Dive won’t change your life, but it’ll probably have you white knuckling your way through 91 engaging, tense minutes and muttering to yourself that you might just cancel that trip to the beach.