THE DIVE (2023)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Maximilian Erlenwein
Cast: Sophie Lowe, Louisa Krause
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 31 August 2023

Synopsis: Two sisters go diving at a beautiful, remote location. One of the sisters is struck by a rock, leaving her trapped 28 meters below. With dangerously low levels of oxygen and cold temperatures, it is up to her sister to fight for her life.

Movie Review:

How many times are we willing to subject ourselves to watching people get out of unimaginable life-threatening situations? Your response to that will determine how much you will enjoy ‘The Dive’, a perfectly serviceable survival thriller that nonetheless doesn’t differentiate itself enough from other similar genre fare like ‘127 Hours’, ‘The Shallows’ or even last year’s ‘Fall’.

German director Max Erlenwein’s remake of a 2020 Norwegian film sees two sisters – May (Louisa Krause) and Drew (Sophie Lowe) – drive to a remote seaside setting for their annual dive trip, only to have the former trapped under a boulder after a catastrophic landslide. It is of course deliberate that the less experienced Drew is the one who not only has to ensure that May doesn’t run out of oxygen but also find a way to free May.

Thankfully, Erlenwein – who scripted his remake with its original Norwegian co-writer Joachim Heden – does not belittle either of his characters. Indeed, despite the circumstances, May or Drew remain competent under duress, and never make the sort of idiotic decisions that you’ll end up hating them for. In fact, to her credit, Drew makes a couple of ingenious moves, including deliberately crashing their car to bust open the boot and using a combination of everyday tools to eventually lift the rock pinning May down.

Most of the action takes place in real time, lending a sense of immediacy and urgency to the proceedings. Given how each tank has only enough oxygen to last for 20 minutes, Drew has to make multiple trips to the surface and back, while enduring the hazard of rushed decompression. Thanks to Frank Griebe’s smart, carefully choreographed cinematography, these scenes are often adrenaline-fuelled, with some admirable underwater photography to boot.

Compared to Drew, May has relatively much less to do except to recall how she and Drew used to learn diving together as kids and hallucinate about how they ended up drifting apart as adults. While the movie hardly bogs itself down with melodrama, it is also the reason why it runs out of narrative puff especially in the last third, especially to depict the increasingly sense of hopelessness between them as they run out of good options.

How much you’ll enjoy ‘The Dive’ therefore depends on your appetite for such survival thrillers. Whilst perfectly competent, this latest also hardly breaks any new ground for the genre, except for say its underwater location. There is also little emotional depth to the story, which diminishes the payoff at the end. It is still though a taut, tense watch most of the time, and if that sounds good enough for you, then go ahead and take the plunge.

Movie Rating:

(A taut, tense survival thriller that ultimately proves serviceable at best) 

Review by Gabriel Chong

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