|Star:||Nick Nolte, Jacqueline Bisset, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Shaw|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 1977|
David Sanders (Nick Nolte) and his girlfriend Gail Berke (Jacqueline Bisset) are on a scuba diving holiday when they find a Spanish medallion while diving on a dangerous WW2 wreck. They also find a small glass ampoule containing morphine and this attracts the attention of local crime lord Henri Cloche (Louis Gossett Jr.). Wanting to know where the medallion came from they take their finds to local treasure hunter Romer Treece (Robert Shaw). After much persuasion he agrees to dive the wreck with them, partly to recover the treasure, and partly to keep the morphine from Cloche. Now its a race against time with Cloche's men closing in on land and the lethal danger of a ship packed full of unexploded ammunition in the deep.
Peter Benchley who is also the author of Jaws wrote the Deep. However although its story is based largely underwater there is not a monster shark in sight, rather this is a taught thriller that investigates the perils of treasure hunting. This is an unusual and original story idea, and one that is kept from dragging by the complex plot and inclusion of many natural underwater dangers.
The story itself works quite well thanks to the inclusion of colourful characters and the previously mentioned story. Robert Shaw plays his usual awkward blighter character, running infuriatingly between obstinate unhelpfullness and begrudged assistance. It's a role he does well, but here he never quite achieves the focus required to explain the character. Louis Gossett Jr. is good as the voodoo using gangster boss coming across as charmingly menacing. Jacqueline Bisset is beautiful but her role is never fully developed (unlike the woman herself as evident in the gratuitous wet T-shirt shots at the beginning of the film). The main lead falls to Nick Nolte an actor who is fine playing a hard man but a little out of place as an average Joe. Overall this is a fine cast and my reservations about the roles are not a major problem.
Ok so a lot of the film takes place underwater (well duh) and I must admit that the photography is very good in a National Geographic sort of way. And here lies the problem, a little too much time is spent looking at the pretty fishes as opposed to getting on with the story. What may have impressed in 1977 now with a CGI fed audience looks a little mundane. Don't get me wrong the natural underwater hazards are well represented and tension is generated but things can be a little pedestrian at times.
The Deep is a fine underwater thriller, which is a genre not exactly bursting at the seams. It is based around an excellent story, and has a fine supporting cast. The underwater shots still look good (if a little unspectacular) and there are moments of real tension. This is the sort of film you find repeated on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and as such is well worth watching next time it's on.
|2.35:1||Grainy and rather weathered picture|
|Dolby Surround||Passible but cerainly not 5.1|
|Typical back catalogue release which adds up to a poor DVD. The only good news is that it can often be found for less than a tenner.|