• Film
  • Action and adventure
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On the surface, Ballard's effervescent celebration of the joys of competitive yachting seems little more than a formulaic gung-ho sports movie. With its risibly romantic plot (boy deserts girl to pursue ambitions, screws up big-time, realises he cannot win trophies without winning back girl's love), its surging musical score and multiple orgasm-style climaxes, this could easily be the sort of film Ron Howard knocks out in an afternoon. But dive beneath the shimmering surface, and some mysterious treasures can be found. While cinematographer John Toll's daredevil camerawork assaults the eyes, swooping impressively in and out of the crashing waves, it is the relentless undercurrent of Alan Splet's creaking, crunching sound effects accompanying the images that holds the key to the film's power, perfectly enhancing the exhilaration of Ballard's tale. Solid performances by Modine and Grey lend a much-needed air of credibility to the proceedings, but Robertson delightfully scuppers their understated efforts by playing cantankerous old Captain Morgan Weld (Modine's Nemesis) as a camp pastiche of Robert Shaw's Quint in Jaws.

Release details

Duration: 126 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Carroll Ballard
Screenwriter: Rudy Wurlitzer, Kimball Livingston, Roger Vaughan, Mac Gudgeon
Cast: Matthew Modine
Jennifer Grey
Cliff Robertson
Jack Thompson
Stellan Skarsgard
Rebecca Miller
Ned Vaughn
James Rebhorn
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