The Deep is a strong Icelandic drama that satisfies on an entertainment level, but somehow (ironically) lacks depth.
Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur helms this nautical drama which tells the real-life story of the lone survivor of a sailing tragedy. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson plays Guli, the man who managed to swim to shore despite the freezing cold temperatures and rough seas. When he arrives at shore he’s met with suspicion and incredulity as nobody can believe that he made it back alive.
There’s a lot of The Deep that works as a film, however the film feels quite slight. That might be because of the real-life story that the film depicts. The events are indeed miraculous, showing a stunning feat of human survival despite all odds, but it doesn’t feel strong enough as a narrative. It would make one hell of a newspaper article, but it lacks an arc as a film. That’s not to say that the film doesn’t hit some good notes. It’s a good looking film (in a bleak Icelandic way) and the film rests ably on Ólafur Darri Ólafsson’s broad shoulders. What he lacks in star quality, he makes up for in humanity.
Many of the characters in The Deep feel roughly sketched. There are not realised. The crew members that die could all be effectively summed-up in a few words. We have the captain who likes strong coffee, the young cook, the hungover mechanic, the husband and father and the bearded guy who likes music. We really don’t learn much about them. It feels as if someone was told the outline of the story and decided to write the script based on second-hand information.
The Deep isn’t particularly thrilling but it is entertaining. The core story is interesting, but it feels like it just doesn’t have enough mileage for film. You could say that it’s nautical and nice – but nice is never good enough.