47 Meters Down


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

47 Meters Down
""I'm so scared we're going to die down here.""

Some stories tell themselves. Others are overdressed in colour disparate convoluted subplots to disguise their naked simplicity. 47 Metres Down is the former.

What do you do with sisters in a cage, dangling underwater from a rusty tourist boat, surrounded by shoals of little fish and extras from Jaws? If you pull them up there's no drama. If you leave them where they are they drown. Both scenarios have limitations.

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Johannes Roberts' film is well shot. The performances range from hysterical to resigned, handicapped by bulky breathing apparatus. Once the cable snaps and the cage crashes to the ocean floor things get heavy for the girlies. Heavy enough?

There are two problems with sharks in movies. They have been overused since Spielberg's big white mechanical and CGI has sucked the spontaneity out of them - you look, you think green screen, you look away.

"I'm so scared we're going to die down here."

Oh, yes! The script (see above). No comment.

To feel involved in the sisters' fate you have to know them. Lisa (Mandy Moore) is nervous, conventional, suspicious. She has just been dumped by her partner/husband/guy and her confidence is dragging along the floor. She's in that depressed state where life looks as bleak as a millennial's job prospects. Kate (Claire Holt), on the other hand, is positive, flirtatious and as sexy as a seal in a nature doc.

Kate persuades Lisa to take a break and then encourages her to risk the shark cage because it's an experience and experiences are what it's all about, right?

There have been other films about accidents at sea, or under the sea, that work better than this. Where's the difference?

In the lower depths you don't see faces and therefore can only guess at expressions and you have no idea what's happening up top. The question of whether to leave the cage and risk being munched or stay put until the air runs out is moot. Or, to put it more succinctly, buggered both ways.

The inevitable lacks surprise. There is a twist in the tail, however, which comes across as a Bobby-in-the-shower moment. Baffled? Maybe. Enough to care? Not really.

Reviewed on: 22 Jul 2017
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Two sisters trapped in a shark cage and running out of oxygen have to fight to survive.
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Director: Johannes Roberts

Writer: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera

Starring: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura, Matthew Modine, Mayra Juarez, Axel Mansilla

Year: 2017

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, US, Dominican Republic

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