Monday, February 25, 2013

"Dark Tide": adventure film about diving around sharks was largely overlooked in 2012

Dark Tide”  (2012, directed by John Stockwell) is an important “adventure” and docudrama-style film that from South Africa and the UK, with Halle Berry as a “shark whisperer” and expert diver, trying to rebuild her life after a dive accident cost her a companion.  With so many companies involved (Lionsgate, Magnet/Magnolia Pictures, Wrenkin, Lipsync. Row 1, and Wrenkin) it’s surprising that is was overlooked for most of 2012. It shares some territory with both “Life of Pi” and “Rust and Bone”, as well as, of course, all of “Jaws”.

Kate (Halle Berry) accepts a job to help a millionaire with his sons on a big diving expedition off Capetown.  It may be that structurally,  the story doesn’t have a lot of space on the boat (but Pi did!)  There is tension in the family. The youngest kid (Mark Elderkin) loves to play with his camera and films but is a bit of a “tender little baby”.  In the meantime, the movie keeps us coming back to thinking about these great white sharks, that really don’t have it in for us like we do for them.  Eventually, dad gets carried away, and the family gets caught in a storm.  The shark gets involved, and the underwater mayhem scenes are riveting, having you wonder who will make it. 

Some of the film story is told through handycam's, in somewhat a "dogme" style like that of Lars van Trier.  The narrative style is a bit self-annotating, like a NatGeo docudrama, which some viewers could find dilutes the tension in the story. 
The official site (Japan) is here
The film should be viewed in BluRay if possible, because this is a movie (2.35:1) where the technical presentation really matters.  Again, it’s a mystery why American audiences weren’t more interested. This cost  $25 million to make. 

During the closing credits, the film makes some recommendations about shark conservation and extinction threat.  For example, sustainable fishing should be considered.  

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