Deep Water (PG)
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Time Out says
Tue Dec 12 2006At the same time as Neil Armstrong and co were shooting for the moon, nine similarly adventurous souls were tackling another first: sailing non-stop solo round the world in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Among them was Donald Crowhurst, an electronics whiz who, despite having only messed around in boats before, was convinced a vessel equipped with the latest computerised gadgets would see him through ten months of solitude and 12-storey waves to the £5,000 prize. Meagrely funded by a caravan entrepreneur, his preparations proceeded slowly and chaotically; giving up, however, meant bankruptcy. And so, on October 31 1968, the last departure day for competitors, an angst-ridden Crowhurst kissed his wife and four children goodbye, boarded his hopelessly under-prepared trimaran and set sail into what, in those pre-GPS days, was the oblivion of the high seas…
To know much of what happened next would mar the impact of this truly astounding tale (resist the urge to Wikipedia it if it’s not familiar). Suffice to say, it’s an extraordinary blend of bravery, stupidity, fear, isolation, theatricality and insanity, here effectively brought to life by a motley mix of Crowhurst’s tape-recordings, 16mm films and logbook extracts, plus reconstructions, archive footage, Tilda Swinton’s narration and talking heads, among them Crowhurst’s wife and son. Charting the thin line between courage and foolhardiness, it’s a poignant portrayal of the excruciating emotional odyssey of all involved – one competitor inexplicably turned round on the home stretch to start his second circumnavigation – made all the more moving by the film’s refusal to dismiss Crowhurst as a mere eccentric, imbuing his dreams with heartfelt dignity.
Author: Nick Funnell