VHS: Dive, The / Dykket (1989)

March 16, 2015 | By


Dive1989_VHSFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  Good

Extras:  n/a

Label: n/a

Region: n/a

Released:  n/a

Genre:  Drama / Suspense

Synopsis: A ship’s crew struggle to save two men trapped in a diving bell on the ocean floor off the coast of Norway.

Special Features:  n/a




The Dive / Dykket runs with the hook of a simple last-minute job before a planned vacation that goes very, very wrong, which in the case of divers Gunnar (I am Dina and Dead Snow’s Bjørn Sundquist) and new partner Rolf (Hamsun’s Eindride Eidsvold) starts as a ‘bounce dive’ – five minutes to inspect and turn on an underwater oil pipeline valve – and ends up putting themselves and outgoing partner Bricks (Foyle’s War Michael Kitchen) in mortal danger.

There’s nothing like having one’s vacation ruined by an unplanned disaster, and director Tristan DeVere Cole milks every facet of the small diving operation on a medium-sized vessel with a helicopter port. We’re shown how things flow when every component is functioning, and then understand the increasing danger as every effort to bring the men back to the surface makes things worse.

Leidulv Risan and Carlos Wiggen’s tight script benefits from the real locations and use of actual diving gear, and Harald Gunnar Paalgard’s underwater cinematography is appropriately claustrophobic, restricting the trapped men’s view to just a few surrounding meters on the ocean floor.

Most of the dialogue is perfunctory, as the characters themselves aren’t given much depth beyond the archetypical two partners/long-time friends, an odd new recruit, and overlords caught between balancing safety rules and money (which involves pressure from the oil company to reactivate the pipeline and keep the cash flowing).

Gunnar’s wife Ann (Marika Lagercrantz) basically shifts from anxious to worried, worried to fearful, fearful to rage, rage to euphoria, and the ship’s owner slides into a guilt-ridden pocket as his push to extract one more job from the divers might potentially tear apart a family.

Woven into the script are some excellent factual dangers, though, and one quickly bonds with trapped divers Gunnar and Rolf, as well as Bricks, who attempts a brave 80 meter dive to attach oxygen, power, and winch cables when the ship has no other means to save the two men.

The Dive illustrates the kind of high tension and drama filmmakers can wrought from a simple concept, decent research, and authentic locations. The only flaws in the film are a few bouts of melodrama – Rolf’s slide into paranoia is too neat and contrived, plus Gunnar’s efforts to shake some sense into Rolf are too high pitched – and the music score by Bent Åserud and Geir Bøhren is a dated mix of synths and orchestra with optimistic themes that sometimes go against the director’s efforts to establish a seed of danger.

A Norwegian-British co-production, The Dive was probably designed to ride on the wave of three other underwater thrillers released in 1989: James Cameron’s The Abyss, and the two studio cheapies Deepstar Six and Leviathan, and while the American productions involved monsters and moralistic E.T.’s, the neo-realism of The Dive is more satisfying because it’s about the struggle to reach the surface when the technology that shields man from the ocean elements goes kaput.

The setting of Norway’s North Sea oil boom was revisited in the more direct suspense-drama Pioneer / Pioner (2013).



© 2009 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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