It's been 29 years since "Jaws" first made us nervous about swimming
with sharks. Now, with the release of the well-crafted, intense "Open
Water," you may not want to splash in anything other than a bathtub.
This story is based on an actual incident of a few years back,
when divers went missing off Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
On the screen, workaholics Susan and Daniel (Blanchard Ryan and
Daniel Travis) pack up the laptops and cellphones for a last-minute
vacation in the Caribbean. A young, attractive couple, they seem too
self-absorbed to notice their separate needs.
When they're out on a scuba-diving excursion with a group of other
divers, the two resurface and are stunned to realize their boat is
nowhere in sight. Surely they will be rescued soon, they reason, but
they cannot get their bearings and drift further and further out to
sea. Meanwhile, the boat's crew members and other passengers are
unaware the couple are missing.
As experienced this past weekend by those in the path of Hurricane
Charley, we are still at the mercy of nature, in spite of all our
technology, and we are quite insignificant in the big scheme of
"I wanted to go skiing!" sobs Susan, as they try to adjust to the
reality of having no control over their fates.
The hours pass interminably, and Susan and Daniel run the gamut of
emotions -- anger, hope, resentment, fear and love.
Unlike "Jaws," "Open Water" is low-key, and the dialogue is as
convincing as those sharks. The hand-held digital cameras (by
writer/director Chris Kentis and producer Laura Lau) and sound
effects add to the documentary feel -- you can almost taste the salt
The ending was a real stunner, too. The audience sat still for
nearly a minute before gulping for air and heading for home.
* SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant
for a financial services company.
a new 'State' for Braff
Drowning in the abyss of silence, loss and deprivation of soul is
a man who has forgotten what it means to live. Welcome to the "Garden
Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff, who also directed) moved to Los
Angeles to become an actor, leaving his East Coast family and friends
with no reminder of his past. Medicated with lithium, he never fully
grasps any meaning of life.
After not returning home for nine years, Andrew is summoned by his
father for reasons that alter his world indefinitely. His mother, a
fragile woman paralyzed from the waist down, has drowned in the
So, Andrew is called forth out of hiding and isolation from his
past to revisit his childhood and witness his own rebirth. Despite
the sorrow and lack of motivation to live, Andrew's return home
proves to be the ideal remedy to alleviating his agony.
While attending his mother's funeral, Andrew experiences no
emotional consciousness in relation to the loss he has suffered. At
home after the burial, he and his father share their perspectives on
what their situation means.
Upon his return, Andrew neglects to take his lithium pills and
receives rapid and frequent headaches that last for a split second
and vanish. Perplexed by this reaction, he goes to see a doctor, who
advises him to resume taking the medication.
But in a roundabout way, he tells him to get a second opinion. It
is from this revelation that he begins to live, without being
contained by medicine, and is free to feel again.
During his four days home, he meets a young woman named Sam
(Natalie Portman) at the clinic, who turns out to be a habitual liar.
In spite of that, she has a profound effect on Andrew, who is only
starting to adapt to life without lithium. Through her wit, she shows
Andrew what life could be. He finds himself yet loses her.
As the story unfolds, Andrew matures emotionally. His new
perception of life is the antidote for his trite and prosaic history.
Despite the plot's melancholic tone, laughter is never absent, and
character is never deficient. Sympathy and remorse combine with
hilarity to set a unique tone.
Although bewildered by a life full of emotionless uncertainty,
Andrew rekindles his spirit and develops an objective for which to
live. And although all humanity seems lost, it is recaptured in a
return to childhood memories and future aspirations.
* SARA SALAM, is a student at Corona del Mar High School.