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- Dead Calm
- Runtime:96 min
- Release Date:2014-03-11 21:27:07
- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Genres: Drama, Thriller
MOVIE REVIEW:Dead Calm
Out on the high seas aboard their sailing yacht, a young couple spots a
dingy with a man in it, rowing toward them; they pick him up as a
gesture of rescue, given that no other help exists for many miles. From
then on, our hitchhiker (Billy Zane), an attractive scoundrel, takes
control of the couple and of the plot, in a story filled with contrived
situations and stupid decisions.
Except for the first seven minutes, which are largely irrelevant to the
rest of the story, the plot consists of just those three characters:
the man, his wife, and a maniacal hitcher. With an absence of
civilization, there should have been plenty of tension. Yet strangely,
I never sensed any, mostly owing to a curious lack of twists and
surprises. Nor is there any subtext. What you see here is what you get.
Indeed, the shallow plot continues only because both the man and his
wife make a number of idiotic decisions.
Even though the plot sinks the film, the high seas visuals are
beautiful. A couple of sunset shots in the second half combined with
exotic background music render a nice atmosphere. Lots of close-ups,
even extreme close-ups, convey a claustrophobic feel.
Sam Neill and Billy Zane are well cast. But I could have wished for
another actress to replace annoying Nicole Kidman and her long straggly
hair. The only character I cared anything about was Ben, the little dog
on the yacht.
"Dead Calm", despite some pleasant visuals, lacks tension. The plot
comes across as perfunctory and contrived, with an ending that is
totally not credible. The viewer can find similar, but more satisfying,
I was surprised at how well this film works with little dialogue and
much of it being scared looks from Nicole Kidman.
Dead Calm is a thriller that uses its surroundings to put you on the
edge of your seat. The open water, the fact that Ray (Nicole Kidman) is
stuck on a boat with a crazy guy (Billy Zane) and no where to run while
her husband (Sam Neil) is on the verge of drowning on another ship.
Yes, not much is said but it all is done quite effectively.
The music adds a lot to make it feel very claustrophobic. It almost
sounds like someone panting for breath, which is what feel in these
characters. Kidman is pretty good in this, looking like a normal
ordinary run of the mill character, which is what makes it look or the
more real. Zane is very good as the crazed villain, though I still
don't fully understand his motives in this film and in particular with
Kidman, though I guess his main purpose was to escape and have some fun
with her along the way.
And yes, the main disappointment is the ending. Do they have to make it
so cliché? It really is suited to something more in b grade horror
movies rather than this. That did upset me and I think without that it
would have got a higher appreciation from me.
Nevertheles, an effective piece of work from Phillip Noyce, using
atmospherics and sound to entice you into this terror in the middle of
nowhere between three characters. It really is dead calm – cuz it's
only them in the film there to experience it.
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