Open Water

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED R for nudity, language, and terrifying images
Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis
Directed By: Chris Kentis

Final Grade:

Open Water has the potential to be the most polarizing independent film since the infamous Blair Witch hit screens five years ago. While many will laud it’s gritty and tense film-making, those looking for something more Hollywood will no doubt loathe it for reasons that are both visual and mental.

I definitely fall into the former category, though I’m much less impressed with this film than I was with Blair Witch. The film manages to place us with two characters in the middle of the ocean and remain tense (albeit for under 80 minutes), while still giving something interesting to see and consider.

I’ve no doubt that several “more conventional” viewers will leave the theater disgusted by the fact they watched the film. When it ended, I could hear people around me saying things like “Man, I almost left when I saw the way it looked” or “Geez, I’m never letting you pick a movie again” or “Yeah, I totally thought it was gonna be something more than like that.”

These stupid people have some validity in their statements. The digital photography, which I found perfect for the film, is jumpy and unspectacular, and even annoying. But doesn’t the film intend to make the viewer feel this? I think so.

Yes, the characters are simple, the story isn’t “twisty,” and the ending is abrupt. But isn’t it more possible that things would happen that way? I think so.

For those that don’t want to have to associate with the film they’re watching, Open Water is not the right movie to see. It’s not escapist entertainment, and it requires you to give yourself completely to its insistence that what is happening could be (and may have been) real. Without that ability, you won’t care for it one bit. But if you can make the commitment, you’ll probably experience tension like you’ve rarely gotten from a movie, at least in certain scenes. Open Water is commendable solely for the fact that it’s an internal experience as much as it is an external one.

A minor complaint before I go: Lead actress Blanchard Ryan is very hot. She’s shown many times on the boat that takes them to dive, looking so, and letting her breasts show more than they should. But, when the boat leaves, no one seems to notice her and her husband aren’t there.

Seriously, wouldn’t one of the 20+ people on the boat, which were mostly male, look around and say “Hey, where’s that extremely hot chick that came out here with us?” I think so.

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