dir Ron Scalpello
scr Alan McKenna, Paul Staheli
prd Jason Newmark, Laurie Cook, Alan McKenna
with Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, Joe Cole, Alan McKenna, Ian Pirie, Paul McGann, Daisy Lowe, Gemita Samarra, Nathalie Morel, Sami Sands, Spencer Setchell, Logan Wong
release US 12.Jun.15, UK 21.Aug.15
15/UK Pinewood 1h31
This is our last dance: Huston, Goode and Cole

huston goode cole
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Pressure Atmospheric and over-serious, this deep-sea thriller is never boring even though it fails to get the audience involved. Director Scalpello desperately tries to create chaos with shaky cameras and manic editing rather than story and character. Alas, the solid actors would have been able to achieve a lot more than this with a stronger script.

Somewhere off the coast of Somalia, an oil pipeline repair team descends to the seabed. Crew chief Engel (Huston) brings the alpha-male leader Mitchell (Goode) and the frazzled veteran Hurst (McKenna) along, as well as Jones (Cole), a rookie who needs the experience. But a freak storm on the surface severs their connection with the ship above, and with limited oxygen and no comms, they may not survive until a rescue team finds them. As they struggle to avoid panicking, they begin arguing about what to do next.

There's a terrific sense of claustrophobia, even when these men venture from the diving bell into the inky black water 400 metres below the surface, where the pressure makes an emergency ascent impossible. But the script ignores most of the science, piling on random life-threatening dangers without generating any real suspense. Scalpello further compromises the film's integrity with jittery handheld cameras and gravelly sound that make scenes indecipherable. There are lots of manly heroics, but little meaning. Every moment of increased peril merely brings another flourish of macho bravery.

The actors do everything they can with just a few character details each: Engel carries a dolphin charm once worn by what looks in flashbacks to be a bombshell stripper (Lowe), Mitchell couldn't contact his wife (Morel) before the descent, Jones is a second-generation diver with pregnant sweetheart Lisa (Samarra) back home, Hurst is an alcoholic hanging by a thread. Huston, Goode, Cole and McKenna have plenty of presence, but the trite, overly packed dialog leaves the characters without any inner life.

The script is packed with utterly pointless comments ("There's more pirates in these waters than there are fish!"), while the swirling flashbacks are pure misogyny. But the most annoying thing is the inane structure: how many times can these tough guys almost die? Admittedly there aren't many set-piece options, but a bit more imagination in writing these characters' back stories would have gone a long way. As is, it never feels like anything other than a hackneyed B-movie. We wait in vain for it to surprise us.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, nudity 28.Jul..15

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