Thursday, July 15, 2010

below (twohy, 2002)

Preferable to Jonathan Mostow's straight-faced, secular U-571 in almost every conceivable way, Twohy's deft, Lewton-esque (it distinctly recalls The Ghost Ship), Darren Aronofsky co-scripted "haunted submarine" tale ultimately loses force as it becomes progressively more esoteric in its visuals - on at least three occasions, Twohy will execute a match-cut/scare-cut that has the effect both of diluting the oogedy-boogedy-ness handily outdone by other "old dark house in space" pictures (such as Ridley Scott's Alien, or Paul W.S. Anderson's fantastically corny and creepy Event Horizon), and derailing the narrative, so much so that we lose track of what's at stake, and wonder if the characters have, as well. Still, even if the tale eventually loses itself in a fog, the first two reels are impermeable genre sheetrock, a lean setup and kick-off with sharp editing and a terrific set piece that demonstrates how fast news travels on a small boat.

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