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article imageReview: ‘The Deep’ is profound storytelling Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Based on true events, ‘The Deep’ portrays a fisherman’s attempt to survive in the freezing ocean after his boat sinks off the coast of Iceland.
Often, when something occurs that defies scientific explanation, people label it a miracle. But many elements of the human body remain a mystery, particularly when it comes to a person's will to live. Going against logic and reason, people have survived significant injury and fatal conditions. The Deep is one man's real-life tale of survival.
The small Icelandic fishing crew wondered if they'd even be able to cast off in the morning with a potential storm rolling in. But the skies remained clear so Gulli (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), his childhood friend Palli (Jóhann G. Jóhannsson) and four others, including the new cook, said goodbye to their loved ones and set out in the early morning. The first day was like any other, but on the second they experienced a mechanical malfunction that capsized the ship. Spending most of the night in frigid waters, Gulli was the only one to make it to shore. But doctors couldn't explain how he escaped the fate of his mates.
In many respects, the film style matches Gulli's tale of endurance. There were no extraordinary circumstances that guided him back to land or fantastical feat that contributed to his living -- he swam and walked to safety without help or grandeur. Similarly, the movie doesn't attempt to glorify his experience. It keeps the story simple, focusing on Gulli and the overwhelming isolation of the black ocean that surrounded him. Even the sinking of the ship is not made excessively dramatic in spite of the devastation in its wake.
The pace is purposeful. It doesn't insert any additional dramatics to ensure there's an action beat every few pages in the script. There is some foreshadowing, but that is less a narrative device than it is a reality of the job. The story is presented in three distinct sections. First is life pre-accident, which is no more special than anyone else's regular day. Next is the capsizing and subsequent struggle to survive. Finally it answers the question of what Gulli did after his traumatic experience and whether he followed through with any of his bargains with God.
Director Baltasar Kormákur has recently made several action films but this picture is slower and more deliberate, presenting a realistic depiction of the incident.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson and Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir
More about The Deep, Baltasar Kormakur, Based on a True Story, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Drama
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