Why is NUDITY an issue? Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer
|Featuring:||Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau, Michael Williamson|
|Distributor:||Lions Gate Films|
“Drifting into theaters this summer. Who will save you?”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Based on true events, OPEN WATER follows an American couple, Daniel and Susan, (Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan) on an island holiday. Upon arrival at their hotel, we learn that Daniel and Susan’s relationship is under strain from their workaholic lifestyles, and they need a vacation even more than they realized.
The next morning, the loving and rested couple, certified scuba divers, board a local dive boat for an underwater tour of the reef. The boat is crowded with other vacationers, and due to a series of innocent miscommunications and a distracted crew, the couple is, after only 40 minutes or so underwater, accidentally left behind.
What follows is the story of their ordeal: cold, alone and miles from land, the couple is adrift in shark-infested waters.”
“Open Water” is a low-budget, independent project that flirts with the “thriller” genre, but tends to remain faithful to a tense, psychological drama. The real “twist” to this thriller is the viewer’s churning stomach, the physical manifestation of a mind set adrift (pun thoroughly intend) on the horrifying thought of “what if?” (Believe me, there is plenty of drifting going on!).
Writer, director, cinematographer, editor and producer Chris Kentis (Writer/Director, Grind, 1997) has taken an intriguing premise and a digital camera right into the deep part of the psyche and drawn out a universal sentiment… sheer terror! The hair-raising, goose bump inducing thrill of this film is absolutely authentic, because it is generated internally (more imagination and nightmare than special effect) and not in front of a blue screen or via CGI.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a great film, but it achieves great effect. There are flashes of brilliance, the primary example being the premise. The cinematography is commendable (his scenes of open water are unnerving) and the use of abstract footage is sometimes effective. The camera angles and framing are artsy documentary and don’t move the story forward or draw in the viewer (with the maddeningly frightful exception of his shark shots!).
Daniel and Susan have finally set out on an island vacation for a long awaited diving expedition. They get to the island, check into the hotel and begin to check out the sites. After at least one day (but who really knows) of site seeing and shopping, the carefree couple settles into their room to rest up for the next day’s anticipated adventure. And then the drifting begins.
The film is drenched (again an intended pun) with profanity, including more than 30 (I eventually lost count) uses of our Lord’s name with vain intent, and 50 or so uses of the strongest slang available in English. There was also the most obvious example of gratuitous, full frontal female nudity cinematically possible. There was an attempt to justify it in a foreshadowing comment about the heat. There was no sex; she was not “in the mood.” Thank God for small and often unnoticed providences!
The fatal flaw in this film is the writing. Kentis’ main characters are sub-dimensional; he gives us very little in terms of development and certainly no reason, beyond an innate solidarity of life, (the same sentiment that causes my wife’s lower lip to tremble when we drive by a lifeless squirrel carcass) to care what happens to them as they drift along, “cold, alone and miles from land.” Kentis has very little to say. But we ought to listen, and carefully, because what little he does say should chill us deeper than any of the frightening images he conjures with his camera.
Kentis shows us that there is more to this life than the everyday rattle and hum. Indeed, against the backdrop of miles and miles of ocean, the rattle dissipates and the hum fades to silence. Man is fighting a futile battle against the “vast and indiscriminate power of nature.” But don’t miss the point: in this life there is more than man and nature. Nature has no being. For Kentis there is something more to this life than the stuff, the question is: “How do I get something more?”
That is the real terror, deeper than any shark could touch. The question at the heart of the fear that we cover over with sharks and jelly fish, barracudas and the possibility of starvation or drowning is this: “Am I alone in this world?”
Without a personal God who reveals Himself through nature and special revelation there is no hope. Without a personal God who would humiliate Himself on behalf of His creation there is no hope. Without a personal God who holds all of creation together for His purposes and glory, there is no hope and you are alone. “Open Water” misses this point altogether.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate