Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Review: Deep Water

Editors Note: This post was originally meant to be published in January of 2008, (eek!) but apparently it never got past the DRAFT section of Blogger. I hope you enjoy it now, and it also pertains to another post coming up later this week.

Happy Viewing!

Last night we watched the documentary Deep Waterabout the 1962 Golden Globe Challenge. The contest was to see if one man could sail around the world non stop. Eleven men accepted the challenge, including the Dark horse candidate, Donald Crowhurst. He was relatively inexperienced although he built navigational equipment for a living, he had never attempted a long voyage before. Sailing around the world singlehanded is still regarded as an enormously challenging undertaking- the immense solitude, herculean physical demands and violent south seas all pose infinite challenges. But today, sailors use GPS and satellites, have better food provisions and can be in constant radio contact. In 1962, heading to sea single handed to circumnavigate the globe wasn't so different from going to the moon.

This movie was excellent, with narration by Tilda Swinton and interviews with a lot of the major players, but what I loved most about it was the way it investigated the psychology of a loser. The heroic personality who places himself against some mighty task, suffers, and ultimately triuphs is familiar ground. But what about the fellow who puts himself to the ultimate test and finds out that he is weak, incompetent and a cheat? Then what?

Joseph Campbell talks a lot about how water in mythology is a powerful metaphor for the subconsious. So going to sea in a tiny yacht is like pitting yourself against all the might of the self in you that you do not know. And Donald Crowhurst's unknown self was deep and powerful, just like a furious ocean. His story is an incredible one, told here with all the drama and revelation of the best movie making techniques.

Right in line with my Non-Fictional Man Versus Nature streak, huh? What films are you watching lately?

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