submergence

Director: Wim Wenders (the beautiful days of aranjuez)

Starring: james mcavoy, alicia vikander, ALEXANDER SIDDIG, AND CHARLOTTE RAMPLING

 

REVIEWER: emily carter

★★

Clinging to life in a cell in Africa, James is brutally interrogated by jihadis. Worlds away, Danielle prepares to descend into the Arctic Sea. Facing life-or-death ordeals, they must rely on their deep emotional connection.

With all the ingredients to create some movie-magic, Submergence comes out decidedly half-baked. Can the superb stars really pull this one together at its ever-loosening seams?

 

Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy head up the cast list, which is what initially had me sold - I mean with Ex Machina, The Danish Girl and Atonement behind them (collectively), you could almost bet good money on Submergence. But maybe don't...While the pair are captivating together and intriguing apart, the plot line swirling around them seemed disjointed and a little loose.

 

We begin with James More (McAvoy) locked up in a dark and windowless room in Africa and Danielle Flinders (Vikander) training for a dive in a submersible. Both vocations are innately mesmerising, yet extremely divergent - the desert and the sea, looking for life and facing death. It may sound poetic, but for the first half of the movie I was in some state of confusion trying to piece it together. While this may be more to do with me than the movie, surely it shouldn't be this hard?

 

As we follow these two stories, we find ourselves in a flashback (took me a moment to distinguish the flashbacks from the flash-forwards), when the two meet on a beautiful beach in France and have an intense connection.

 

Vikander's character's dialogue and behaviour can at times feel unrealistic, but in the scenes with McAvoy, all awkwardness is forgotten. Those two together, that's where the magic is hiding! 

 

With two independently interesting and potentially-epic storylines, Submergence looks promising, but under delivers in a swirl of head-scratching and confusion. 

★★

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Submergence is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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