‘Submergence’ Movie Review

Thanks to The Backlot Films, we got to see Submergence before its Australian release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!

Crossing each other’s paths by chance on a deserted Normandy beach, our main protagonists, Danielle/Danny Flinders (Alicia Vikander) and James Moore (James McAvoy) are at a point in their lives where their emotional barriers are firmly up, and they’re both about to embark on dangerous missions in their careers. Danny’s, a bio-mathematician, a deep sea expedition to the unknown depths of the Greenland Sea to collect samples to determine the origins of life. James’ is an undercover stint as a water project manager, infiltrating jihadist activities in Somalia for the British government.

The film opens well with beautiful oceanic imagery accompanied by the swelling score of composer, Fernando Velazquez and throughout the film are breathtaking coastlines of France juxtaposed with the harsh, arid African landscape. Staying in the same seaside hotel, Danny and James quickly and intensely develop a relationship that, when the time comes for them to embark on their missions in different corners of the globe, sees them promising to reunite and start a new life together.

Whilst the physical connection onscreen is believable enough, the dialogue between the main characters is sometimes lacking or stilted. Erin Dignam‘s screenplay adaption of J.M. Ledgard‘s novel does not set the premise well enough that, through intense conversation over a few days, Danny and James fall deeply in love with their newfound soulmate.Although, Vikander and McAvoy seem to do their utmost with the script available.

Director, Wim Wenders, creates parallel ‘prisons’ between the ill-fated lovers: Danny in her submersible, confined by space and cut off by light, peers through her porthole as James, in his literal cell, stares longingly through a hole in the wall. Both reminisce of their blissful brief days together, which are seen in flashbacks throughout the film. However, Danny’s constant checking for mobile coverage and returned messages from James becomes repetitive and detracts from their earlier philosophical musings. Effectively an age-old dilemma, “Why won’t he return my texts?”.

Ultimately, Submergence aims to highlight that love and faith, contrasted with the terrorist characters’ zealousy (Doctor Shahid, played by Alexander Siddig, who tends to to James’ torture wounds states, “Medicine is mercy. Jihad is duty”) are the true meanings of life on earth. Distance, even death, cannot diminish them.

Submergence – In selected cinemas 16 August 2018