Directed by Chris Kentis.
Written by Chris Kentis. Based on "true events."
Starring Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 8/10/04
"Open Water", which I was fairly excited to
see a few months ago when I first started seeing the trailers, is
the most overrated and therefore the most disappointing film of
2004. This is made worse by the fact that, like Digital
Underground's third album, "Open Water" is so short that if you show
up even ten minutes late you are only going to get an hour's worth
of running time.
Seriously, get this: I walked out of
my apartment, took the elevator down to my car, drove 15 minutes to
the theater, walked from a garage to the theater, got my ticket, sat
down, watched the movie, walked out of the theater, drove the 15
minutes home, took the elevator back up to my apartment and bolted
the door in just two hours! I did all of that in two fucking
hours, and that INCLUDED watching the movie! Usually, movies
are never released into theaters that are shorter than 80 minutes,
so that means that "Open Water" is even shorter than "Passenger 57",
and--you guessed it--there is even less going on.
So much less that I am just kind of
irritated right now for dropping the cash on this thing. The
film's idea is a very good one--a couple (Blanchard Ryan and Daniel
Travis) goes on a dive somewhere south of the border and ends up
being left by the boat in open water with no one to rescue them for
miles on end. As an idea, this is quite scary. Director
Chris Kentis gives us a couple of moments when things are very
frightening, but for the most part, we are left watching the couple
banter as their situation looks more and more grim as the film drags
Wow, where do I start? The film's
first ten minutes are spent on land, as we "get to know" the couple;
this is left to the poor acting of Ryan and Travis, who are so
wooden in this segment that a snooty film critic would probably up
and leave the theater all together, it is so bad. When we get
to the water, you should feel as stranded as the couple does, but
because you don't give two shits about their well-being, it's hard
to warm up to their impending doom. Also, it seems like for
the first few hours they are lost at sea, the twosome don't seem
nearly as scared about their dire chances as I would be or regular
people should be...instead, they are playing Six Degrees and
complaining about whose fault everything is, and on and on.
This brings laughs to your audience, but I realized that this is not
breaking the tension so much as grasping for air. By the time
Susan (Ryan) screams "I knew we should have gone skiing!!", does
this really play along with the "Based on true events" tagline of
the film's authenticity? Suddenly, it's a whiny comedy, not a
serious drama/part-time horror flick?
The decision to stick with the couple for
the majority of the running time as they drift further and further
from civilization is a good one, it's just too bad that director
Kentis couldn't dream up more for these folks to do besides bicker
at each other. I can't say this isn't realistic, it just isn't
interesting in a film after the third scene of it beating on my
skull. Then, during a nighttime sequence where the only light
comes from lightning overhead (my favorite sequence of the film), we
get a couple more shots and then it's over. Man, "Open Water"
ends so fast that if you are sitting in the back row, by the time
you stand up, walk down the stairs and make your turn for the exit,
the ending has finished, the lights have come up AND the credits
have finished rolling, it's over that fast. I didn't like the
ending all that much either; I can't really tell you why without
giving something away, so let me know what you thought about it and
I'll drop a line back.
Writing this review now, I think the most
disappointing thing about "Open Water" is that nothing about it is
really that cinematic, you know what I mean? Nothing about
seeing this in a theater adds or subtracts to how you will enjoy it;
it's so short and so devoid of the kind of charisma that defines
recent indie juggernauts like
Blair Witch Project" or
"Memento" or even
Dynamite" that seeing it anywhere besides your home television
is a waste of time. I'll admit that I have never gone on a
deep sea dive before and had anything nearly this bad happen to me
in the water (oh, besides almost dying), but I would bet that even
the dive community would be disappointing by "Open Water."
This will be a great pick for your Netflix queue when it comes out
in a few months; until then, skip this and see something worthwhile
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard