Another formulaic survival story, The Dive is a remake of the little-seen 2020 Norwegian drama Breaking Surface, and it adds little that is new or surprising.
Sisters Drew (Australian actress Sophie Lowe) and May (Louisa Krause) share a love of deep-sea diving, instilled in them from a young age by their father. Every year the pair make an effort to get away for one weekend to experience interesting locations. This year they travel to a beautiful but remote coastal location to explore some underwater caves. When the film starts there is already some unspoken tension between the two sisters.
But an underwater rock fall traps May who finds herself trapped by a large rock, much like James Franco’s character in 127 Hours. With oxygen running low and only 22 minutes of air left, Drew makes some desperate attempts to free her sister. This involves Drew having to return to the surface and retrieve some spare oxygen tanks from the trunk of their rented car. May is the older of the two and the more experienced, while Drew panics and makes some silly decisions.
The Dive marks the English language debut feature for German filmmaker Maximilian Erlenwein (Gravity). He has adapted the script along with Joachim Heden, the writer and director of the original, and the pair stretch out the slim and cliched premise almost to breaking point. Erlenwein does his best to inject some suspense into the material, but the film is let down by some trite dialogue and the lack of depth to the characters, making it hard for audience to really become involved in their fate.
The Dive is essentially a two-hander, and Lowe (TV miniseries Romper Stomper) and Krause (TV series Billions) do what they can with their limited opportunities and their underwritten characters.
The film is aided by the dramatic score from Volker Bertelman (One Life) and Raffael Seyfried. There is also some great widescreen cinematography from Frank Griebe (Run Lola Run) exploring the remote surface locations and giving us a strong sense of place. His visuals are augmented by the superb underwater photography from Eric Borjeson, which adds to the claustrophobic feel of the material, and captures the underwater environment well.
The Dive has been filmed off the coast of Malta using the giant water tank that has housed other productions such as Waterworld.
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Greg King has had a life long love of films. He has been reviewing popular films for over 15 years. Since 1994, he has been the film reviewer for BEAT magazine. His reviews have also appeared in the Herald Sun newspaper, S-Press, Stage Whispers, and a number of other magazines, newspapers and web sites. Greg contributes to The Blurb on film