Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sanctum – 109 min – R
This is a very beautiful film. I have to hand it to James Carmon, he does know how to spend money on making a pretty film. With all the cool video set up, it lacks all of the other elements that make a good movie. What a disappointment as far as story elements go. It screamed out the clichéd trope of an action film. To make the time more enjoyable while sitting through this film, try playing this drinking game. Take a drink every time you see some heavy handed foreshadowing, you should be under the table by the halfway point. This movie did make me realize one thing: National Geographic documentaries need to be shot in 3D. If this had been a documentary on cave exploring it would have been a much better use of the technology.
The story is based around Frank (Richard Roxburgh) a cave researcher that is being funded by Carl (Ioan Gruffudd) a rich adventure-seeker. They are mapping out an unexplored cave. They feel that the cave leads to the ocean, and they are going to find the way out. Frank and Carl get trapped in the bottom of the cave when a tropical storm arrives two days early, trapping them in the bottom. The only way out is to explore further until it reaches the ocean. Carl has brought his girlfriend, Victoria (Alice Parkinson), along. Frank has his son, Josh (Rhys Wakefield). Both are trapped with a fellow researcher by the name of Crazy George (Dan Wyllie). They fight for survival while they try and get to the surface by going deeper into the caves.
Wow I almost gave away the ending here but the movie does that in the first 15 min, so I won’t steal its thunder. We have poor performances from everyone, but I think it was because they had little to work with. It’s hard to be engaging when your characters are really just wearing red shirts. There is one character that is not and you can pick them out in the character line up at the beginning of the film. Ok, I tried, I really tried not to talk about terminal stupid that drives the characters I have to talk about them, if for some ungodly reason you are going to watch this film please look away I am going to be talking about spoilers.
Ok first off NO ONE listened to Frank. Frank makes his living in caves. If this man told me to put a herring in my pants and crawl on my belly to survive I would be looking for the fish. Everything this man says need to be followed no matter how crazy it sounds. Carl and Victoria are rich people who are funding the expedition so that automatically makes them smarter than Frank. NOT! As soon as Frank sees what’s going on, he starts pulling a wet suit off one of the dead members of his team for Victoria. She replies “I am not wearing a dead woman’s wetsuit”. I am thinking, Lady, you are so dead. And time after time Frank gets ignored. It frustrates me to see that kind of stupidity in characters. On the up side we don’t have to worry about them polluting up the gene pool. Carl also has this “I am better than you” attitude and also proceeds to take himself out of the population, and there was much rejoicing
The Director, Alister Grierson, has one other movie under his belt, so this is a second attempt a feature film. What gets me is that this has two writers, neither of which seem to not have any feature film writing experience. This is John Garvin’s first attempt at a screenplay, and his co writer Andrew Wight’s only background is in documentary production. Wight’s production experience really shows in the shot selection and the makeup of the film, but what is missing is any real experience on the production side of the house. As a side note, this story is based on a real life experience of an incident that happened to Wight during a cave diving trip. He was trapped when the cave entrance collapsed with 14 other people. They had to tough it out for two days to find another way out. It’s a shame that a wonderful real life experiences has to get dressed up in a bad script. They should have kept it a biographical account and I think it might have been more entertaining.
Hummmmm, my wife went to a writer’s conference, and one of the authors said that when she is frustrated at people in real life she writes about their deaths. It makes me wonder who Wight had on that trip that he hated so much that he had to make a movie about killing them. Skip this movie unless you are a huge fan of 3D movies with 2D Characters.
Ok, let me leave you with this question. If you had to make a movie about your life what kind of move would it be?