Monday, September 20, 2004

Cinema report: Open Water

Watched Open Water at a UGC Cinema today.

This independant US$130,000 movie is based on a true story where two scuba divers were accidentally left by their tour boat and subsequently drifted into shark infested waters.

Open Water, which was directed, produced and written by Chris Kentis, was shot using DV (Digital Video) style (ala Blair Witch Project, 28 Days Later...) and in my opinion was a good movie. The film while DV in style, I am willing to bet used a High Definition camera or even a proper 35mm cameras as the quality was still fantastic. It just did not receive the usual Hollywood 'clean up'.

The Lion Gate film is a breath of fresh air compared to the usual bland Hollywood movies (Blair Witch project included). In Open Water, the cast did their best to portray reality including nudity (couples DO sleep nude). I know of some people who claimed the nudity part was uncalled for and even if they wanted to shoot a bedroom scene, the woman should cover up. Excuse me, but couples are supposed to be used to each other naked.

Off topic: Take for example...uhm...what was that idiotic Tom Cruise movie...yeah, Vanilla Sky. He was sleeping with Cameron Diaz and when she wakes up she pulls up her blanket to hide her boobs. Note to Ms. Diaz, when you are acting as a couple, act like a real couple! And show some nudity please. It is not like you have not done nudity before. It is nice I have seen them.

The story begins with this couple who were on their vacation. There they went for a scuba diving trip. It was a nice trip but partly their fault and partly the organisers fault, they were left behind. As time goes by after being attacked by little fishes and jelly fishes, they drifted towards shark infested areas. They also started bickering just like normal couples do in tight situations.

Some critics dislike the idea. These same critics probably want a movie which features Goberner Arhnolt Swacknagger to jump out a plane and start blasting the little sharks.

Off topic 2: Or Jaws... I cannot believe that in this day and age people are still thinking that Jaws is a good movie. It was awful. It was fake. The special effects were crap. The acting was terrible. Face it Jaws sucks (IMO). Saying that Open Water (as some critics did) was fake while complaining that the director should follow the examples of Jaws is just plain stupid.

The director claimed that no special or digital effects were used. The sharks were real and the cast were wearing ancient-like chain mesh to protect themselves. The main cast also spent a total of 120 hours in the water. And they acted great.

If there is something that spoilt the movie, it was the music. Gawd are they awful. The musical interlude ranges from disco to rock music with little meaning except to fast forward time.

The movie was inspired by the
1998 true story of an American couple, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were both left behing by their diving boat in Australia. Before people start reasoning that since the bodies of Tom and Eileen were never found, how could the director know what happened. Simple - the movie was based and inspired by the event. It is still a movie and not a documentary as some might be led to believe.

The tagline was Blair Witch Project meets Jaws. I do not know who created the tagline but I have to disagree with it. Blair Witch Project was a hoax. The whole hype was a hoax. Many people left the cinema convinced that what the saw was real footages found. In Open Water, this is not the case. For example there were wide angle shots of the couple drifting which is not possible for a 'lost and found camera'.

Next - the comparisons to Jaws. I made it clear that I dislike Jaws but I am not going to let my prejudice ruin my views on this comparison. Jaws was a revenge movie. It was also about a big shark which was supposed to be very intelligent it can track human beings down. It also features a shark that can bring down a 30 feet boat. It was an action movie. Open Water is a movie based on two people's fear. It was not about how they die, but the fear of it, the fear of knowing that you will die and it was just the matter of when. The main cast for Jaws is a gigantic fake shark. In Open Water, the sharks plays no part at all until the end. In fact Open Water is not about a couple lost in an ocean infested by sharks, it is about a couple lost in an ocean.

The movie was rated 15 probably due to nudity and some mild language. There are no visible physical violance, but fear and trauma exist throughout.

I give this movie a solid 7/10.

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