There can be a calm tranquillity to the oceans of the world, especially below the surface, when our bodies – and minds – become weightless.
But that can rapidly be replaced with fear if you take our ability to breath out of the mix. Which is exactly the journey this thrilling film takes us on.
It’s time for May (Louisa Krause) and Drew’s (Sophie Lowe) annual scuba-diving trip in a gorgeous, albeit remote locale.
For many it would be a great adventure, but for these sisters, it’s tinged with awkwardness, with their relationship not being in the best of places. Drew is hoping that perhaps this year that might change, and she can once again get close to her sister.
So on a remote beach, with all their equipment, they decide to take a dive into a nearby cave and explore. But when a rock slide takes place above water, it creates even more turbulence between them, putting them both in deadly peril.
Films that take place primarily underwater, with characters submerged at great depths, they more than any other film, have the power to take your breath away – literally – and this in no exception.
German director Maximilian Erlenwein, with only his third film, and his first in English, has produced a real gem – a pearl in a shell, if you will.
It is the simplest of stories, that sees two sisters diving, fall into difficulties. It is hugely compelling, for what it is, which is like a water version of the brilliant Fall, with ripples of 127 Hours thrown in for good measure.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also quite a touching undercurrent of a dysfunctional family, two sisters now estranged, after clearly being close at one point in their lives.
Does it come across as a little far-fetched in places? At times, sure, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that it is wholly absorbing from beginning to end.
And when you factor in that how difficult it must have been for the two actresses, for what is essentially a two-hander underwater, you can only come away from it even more impressed.
With the film set in the vastness of the sea, Erlenwein does a superb job in keeping it all insular and intimate throughout, as well as almost a sheen of cinéma vérité to proceedings, as we witness the events unfolding in the watery depths.
With so many scenes where time is a crucial element throughout, The Dive is likely to leave you gasping for breath by the end of it.