Directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur who’d made the engaging crime mystery film Jar City, The Deep is a human drama that seemed three films rolled into one, and consequently it didn’t have any underlying or coherent thematic base. The 1st act was about camaraderie among sea-men, particularly in the context of preparing before an arduous venture; the 2nd focused on the age-old theme of endurance and survival against an impossible adversity; and the final act, in an sharp change of the stance, dealt with sudden fame for the most unanticipated reasons imaginable. Based on real events, the film chronicled the aftermaths of the capsizing of a fishing trawler off the coast of Iceland’s volcanic Westman Islands. Despite the distance from the coast and the freezing temperatures that are sure to kill anyone in a matter of minutes through hypothermia, the chubby and soft-natured Gulli (Olafur Darri Olafsson), quite astonishingly, manages to reach the rocky coast and then walk to his town. With the grimness and sorrow surrounding the tragic event, he becomes, much to his perplexity and increasing discomfiture, famous for his miraculous escape, and earns attentions of a British researcher. The realism imbued into the proceedings, Olafsson’s empathetic turn – especially during the ordeal and the things he did to keep his mind off the situation, and the knowledge that what we’re seeing actually happened, made this an interesting watch. However, turning it into a medical documentary of sorts made the film end up neither here nor there, with hardly a point by the time it got over. Hence, restricting the 3rd act to an afterthought would have been a more prudent choice.
p.s. Watched this as part of 2013 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)
Director: Baltasar Kormukar