A pair of young vacationers are involved in a dangerous conflict with treasure hunters when they discover a way into a deadly wreck in Bermuda waters. Featuring extended underwater sequences and a look into the affairs of treasure hunting. Based on a novel by Peter 'Jaws' Benchley. Written by
The movie's main movie poster mimicked the poster for Jaws (1975). Instead of a killer shark at the bottom of the sea and a girl atop the water swimming, the poster featured a girl where the shark had been positioned, and looking like she was struggling to swim to the top. The blurb evoked Jaws (1975) suspense with the tagline, "Is anything worth the terror of The Deep?". See more »
In one of the underwater scenes, Treece refers to the girl as "Kate," when the character's name is "Gail." See more »
Films like 'The Deep' are few, sporadic, and are usually not accepted by many audience members, but are usually the films that end up meaning the most in the end. I found that this film had a charm that I could not put my finger on, upon viewing it for the first time. The book, written by well known Peter Benchley (of 'Jaws' fame) was released on the heels of 'Jaws' success, so the film was released a year later, in '77, and was easily brandished as being a 'money film' but I assure you it is much more.
Loosely taken from the book, the film captures the essence of the title. When David Sanders(well played by newcomer Nick Nolte) is on Holiday with his lover(the ALWAYS beautiful and aesthetic Jacqueline Bisset, of whom the film rests well on) Gail Berke, the two uncover items while diving: a small bottle of some sort, sufficient with morphine, and an unrecognizable piece of jewelry, worn by sea and time. Naive to Bermuda, the two continue their holiday, with many people after what is in the bottle, and just who wants it, who should get it, and what ELSE is down in the deep. Genuinely frightening, and appropriately paced, this film not only relies on the situation to keep interest, but psychological undertones to further tell the story.
One of the biggest things this film has going is the underwater photography, shot with beautiful landscapes of coral, fish, and dedication to what the actors explorations achieve. Filmed in Panavision widescreen, this film delivers the whole underwater experience, as each scene is carefully timed and arranged photographically. The fact that filming was done creatively without CGI is all the more fascinating, and you feel like you are actually there, underwater, experiencing. This is buttressed by John Barry's positively breathtaking score. Each note whispers a feeling under and above water, springing in the air, and whooshing through the water, like an animal. The theme is gorgeous and reflects not only the characters attitudes, but the theme of the sea and the deep itself. It is at times violent, and at other times soft and peaceful. The writing can be said something for as well, as the scenes are like a ballet, with carefully choreographed actions, and dialog through the special masks they wear, that a whole scene could take place under water, and does. Benchley adapted from his book, and the story works well.
The acting of the film could not be better. Nick Nolte is very believable as the rambunctious and adventurous David Sanders, and he is played with such prowess and eagerness, something that could be found in all of us, toward the ocean. We really learn to feel why David feels so much about the ocean, more so in the extended television version. Jacqueline Bisset is hauntingly gorgeous as Gail Berke, the conscience and voice of reason of the film. Gail is torn by morality midway through the film, something else we all can relate to. And as the danger caresses, so to does Gail toward what she believes in, and her love for David. Romber Treece is played out with spunk and passion by the late great Robert Shaw, fresh off the celluloid of Jaws, and makes the role his own. Treece, being an islander, knows the bad, and goods of the material they have found under sea, and acts more or less as a guide to keep the two out of danger, while achieving his own satisfaction to the sense of desire he has to the call of the sea. The supporting cast is really great as well. Louis Gosset is daring and intimidating as the main villain Henri Bondourant, one who kills at will, and who provides the three main characters with plenty of conflict, and Eli Wallach is sleazy and perfect as the only survivor of a wreck, that later became the site of the treasure and drugs. The main three do their best to help with the psychological undertones of the film, part of the real charm.
'The Deep' is more than just a deep sea adventure, but a psychological study of three human beings: One, an adventurous, intrepid young man, fascinated by what is dangerous and unknown to him; The other, his lover, a woman of strong passion, strength, and beauty on the inside and out, who is drawn to those she cannot access or comprehend; The third, a man who has been to hell and back, who still feels obliged to his place of comfort, the ocean. The chemistry between these characters, is what builds the undertone. Gail, is fascinated by Treece, because he has been through so much, and feels drawn to his reclusiveness and relevance. David is drawn to danger, and cannot be denied his goal, needs the pleasure of experience, and Treece, fascinated by both their innocent drives, can only help them thusly. The actually deep, a character itself, is the combination of their lively psyches coming together. When they are deep inside, they face danger in the form deadly animals, explosions rigged in the wreck, and most appropriately, themselves. They are forced to look inside themselves, further explored in the book and television version, and the resolution to the film is felicitous.
So when you look at it, 'The Deep' is a clever look into the deep of our minds, as well as our dreams, our fantasies, and our weaknesses as humans. If there is any way to uncover any of it, this film more or less shows the way, and all the more with the entertainment it delivers, gives us a true experience of what any 'Deep' is like.
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