This thriller's the rare film that's both boring and suspenseful.
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Calling to mind movies along the lines of “Open Water” and last year’s “Fall,” “The Dive” (in select theaters beginning Friday, Aug. 25) is a thriller that thrills even if its rote nature occasionally feels like running drills.
Sisters May (Louisa Krause, a guest star on Showtime staples “Billions” and “Ray Donovan”) and Drew (Sophie Lowe of last year’s “Medieval”) travel to a beautiful, desolate location in order to deep-sea dive. Unfortunately, a disastrous landslide sends boulders tumbling into the drink. One of these rocks pins May 28 meters below the surface. It’s now up to Drew to save May’s life even if it means endangering her own as their oxygen levels are depleting and frigid temperatures start royally f*cking ‘em both up. That’s to say nothing of the physical pressure, which certainly adds to the mental pressure.
“The Dive” is co-written and directed by German filmmaker Maximilian Erlenwein. It’s a remake of the 2020 Swedish movie “Tödliche Tiefen” aka “Breaking Surface,” which was written and directed by Joachim Hedén, who receives co-scripting credit here.
I haven’t seen Hedén’s film, but it appears to have far more characters than “The Dive” despite being nine minutes shorter. This is very much a two-hander and both Krause and Lowe are effective in their roles. I applaud these actresses in tackling what must’ve been very mentally and physically strenuous parts. They’re ably aided by cinematographer Frank Griebe (Tom Tykwer’s go-to DP), safety diver Victor Aquilina and Underwater DOP Eric Börjeson who make their characters’ predicaments palpably convincing. This underwater photography is something else!
I do wish we would’ve gotten to know May and Drew better. I was always rooting for them, but would’ve done so on an even deeper level (pun intended) if I had a greater familiarity with who they truly were as people. This either needed to be a short where sketchy character details fly or fleshed out further.
Somehow “The Dive” is simultaneously suspenseful and boring. I do feel like movies such as this, “Open Water” and “Fall” (a far superior flick – my review here – and currently streaming on Starz) are best seen on a big screen as audiences are enveloped in the characters’ emergency this way. I’m not gonna lie – I did get distracted by my phone a time or twelve while watching this, which wouldn’t have happened in a movie theater. (I can be an a-hole, but I’m not one of these a-holes.)
These actresses’ performances and the underwater photography make “The Dive” a thriller worth plunging into … I’d just recommend doing so theatrically if at all possible.