Wednesday, February 21, 2007

7 Dollar Popcorn Presents the 7 Dollar Popcorn FILMuary Spectacular: 28 Days of Movie Mayhem Day 21: Open Water

Floating alone in a sea of more interesting blogs it's 7 Dollar Popcorn Presents the 7 Dollar Popcorn FILMuary Spectacular: 28 Days of Movie Mayhem Part 21.

I said something to Stacie (of Final Girl fame) yesterday. Allow me to share:

"I'm going to watch a movie tonight, and dammit, I'm going to like it if it kills me. I'm going to close my blinds and I'm going to focus on the movie and only the movie. Then, I will post a positive review of it tomorrow. (I know what it's going to be, it's $5 at Best Buy right now and I *AM* excited about it!)

I don't know that it will make the world a better place or not though."

I realize that this is...devoid of context. And that's okay. You see, I, like much of the internet, find it easier to be critical than to be complimentary. So, I will say nothing negative about today's movie (I should add that I am writing this intro PRIOR to watching the movie). I'm going to go put on my rose colored glasses and then, set a mood for this one. I'm going to turn all my lights off. I'm going to turn the computer off and I'm going to turn my phone off and ENJOY tonight's movie. Hell, I considered sitting in my bathtub! See, today's movie is Open Water. The 2003 flick about...well, ask me in a couple hours because off I go.

Keeping it positive

I really liked this movie. I mean I REALLY liked it. Picture two people, a man and a woman, on vacation. A tropical vacation. They get along, but you sense that their relationship may not be what everyone would call idyllic. But, they are together and mostly happy. They decide to go scuba diving. And in the course of the dive, they boat operators take a couple of headcounts. However, do to a guy forgetting and then managing to borrow a mask, the counts gets fubared. As a result, our couple gets left at sea.

I can't find my contact!

Drifting and alone, they do what most people would do. They try to figure out what to do, and they freak out a bit. Ultimately, they assume someone will notice that they're missing. I mean come on, they DO still have the company's tanks! So, since it's just a matter of time, they do manage to keep a bit of a sense of humor about them.

Susan: Daniel, did you just pee?
Daniel: Yep.
Susan: You're disgusting.
Daniel: Hey, you said you were a little cold.

However, you can only stay in high spirits for so long. And, eventually, things start going to shit. The hours wear on and they have to fight off hunger, frustration, exhaustion, and so forth. Not to mention the dangers of the sea like jellyfish, and the ultimate predator, sharks.

Eventually, the boat people DO realize that they're gone, but by then it's too late and the hopelessness of the situation is pretty apparent. It's not exactly a happy ending. The credits roll over a scene of a shark being cut open and someone looking in it's stomach. Inside is 1 rolly polly fish head and 1 underwater camera of the type that Daniel and Susan had with them on the dive.

What does Open Water do well? You have, really, 2 characters. And that's it. The director, Chris Kentis, does a great job of creating characters that are both interesting and sympathetic. It's very easy to imagine yourself in their position. Kentis also does a great job of putting you in with the characters with nice, tight close ups as well as showing JUST HOW ALONE THEY REALLY ARE with long shots. At one point, Daniel and Susan are trying to wave and shout to get the attention of a ship that doesn't look horribly far away. Kentis takes the camera about 30 feet away and you can barely see the two swimmers in the water. From 30 feet! And they're trying to flag down a ship that is at least a half mile away, though more likely much further!

Another thing I loved was the scene where they sort of blow up at each other. The argument is so tense and...violent, but not physically violent. The water though, the water is calmer than any other time in the movie. So here's this big horrible falling out while the rest of the "world" is at peace. This again shows how alone they are where even the water isn't with them.

And even though they're wide out in the open with nothing else around, the movie feels small. It has a weird claustrophobic vibe to it that seems to be just the opposite of the reality, but being out there all alone, the world IS small. It's only the two of them!

In the end, I was sad for the characters. I was hoping that they would be rescued despite knowing how unlikely it was. And, as the credits rolled, I was holding onto myself just a bit and had to shake myself off. I think that Open Water works on a LOT of levels and that's why I'm giving it 8 jellyfish stinging you as you drift along to the great shark buffet out of 10.