47 Meters Down (2017)

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Honestly, this is a pretty kickass concept for a situation thriller (or a sitthrill? Remind me to stop pulling genres out of my ass). It’s as if the filmmakers saw The Shallows and were like “how about we did that but like, under the water?” With that as the in-point and an easily digestible runtime as the cherry on top, not to mention the grandstanding ownership credit at the front (“Johannes Roberts’ 47 METERS DOWN!”) the filmmakers certainly had my attention.

Sadly, the film just plain old runs out of steam way before it has any right to. Add to that a dumb as hell ending which appears to be striving for something like The Descent but ends up falling way short, and you can’t help but feel let down by the whole thing. It’s as if the writer and director couldn’t agree on a solution for the ending so just contrived a way to have both. Bad move. One that seriously dilutes any sense of release that a finite, singular climax would achieve. What a shame.

All that aside, I still can’t think of another movie that spends so much of its core running time underwater (Thunderball maybe?) Just visualise anything underwater, it’s a vast dark blue nothing. And yet, director Roberts manages to establish a clear geography here as well as substantial drama and room for multiple mini set-pieces. It’s one hell of a cinematic challenge for a filmmaker to pull off and one that can easily be taken for granted. That’s hard work and its to the credit of the filmmaking that the film’s visuals and environment never become indistinguishable or boring. This guy certainly has the chops.

I dig shark movies a lot and really the only thing letting this down from being a perfectly solid B-thriller was the lack of panache in the script. The actors throw themselves into it hook, line and sinker (heh) and there’s even a silly Matthew Modine performance tossed in for good measure (seriously though, his agent must be due a raise as I feel like I’ve seen Modine more over the past year or so than I have in decades). Will probably fare well over a get-together and pizza on a Friday night. That tomandandy score certainly does the trick too.

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