The Big Blue

"Good"

The Big Blue Review


A giant metaphor for freedom and self-discovery, directed by a young Luc Besson who had yet to discover his self-indulgent streak, "The Big Blue" is a visceral and turbulent, yet strangely tranquil and beautiful cinematic experience that plumbs the souls of a pair of competitive deep-sea divers who are at once best friends and bitter rivals.

Made in 1988 and reissued this summer in a 40-minutes-longer director's cut, it's one of those rare films you can't help but be affected by on some level. Its vivid photography and even more vivid performances strike a nerve as the film follows the warm but antagonistic friendship between bombastic Enzo (a pre-"Professional" Jean Reno) and quiet, private and deeply reflective Jacques (a pre-"Zentropa" Jean-Marc Barr) beginning with their shared childhood in a craggy, cliff-side, coastal Greek hamlet.

Years later they meet again and form a powerful bond and a dangerous rivalry after discovering they're both record-setting divers who can hold their breaths for super-human lengths of time and plunge to unimaginable depths in professional diving competitions around the Mediterranean.

The narrative structure is clumsy at times and the film has a few weak links, not the least of which is a typically whiny performance from Rosanna Arquette as an American lost soul who falls in love with Jacques but is forever struggling to understand the unspoken, obsessive compulsion that pulls him away from her and toward the sea.

But Besson -- who has more recently made the wildly over-produced "The Fifth Element" and "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" -- keeps the film rooted in compelling emotional impulses while providing a richly detailed palate of visual wonders (case-in-point, the sparse but engulfing diving scenes).

I haven't seen the original version of "The Big Blue," so I can't say what Besson has added here to pad the run time so significantly. But I do know the American release was chopped up and re-scored, and this version is true to the director's original vision. The new cut is certainly absorbing, and should be seen on the big screen if you're seeing it at all, but it does feel over-long -- ironically by about 40 minutes.



The Big Blue

Facts and Figures

Run time: 168 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 11th May 1988

Box Office USA: $80.8k

Distributed by: 20th Century-Fox

Production compaines: Gaumont

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jacques Mayol, as Enzo Molinari, as Johana Baker, as Dr. Laurence, as Novelli, as Uncle Louis, as Roberto, as Duffy, Andréas Voutsinas as Priest, Valentina Vargas as Bonita, as Sally, Bruce Guerre-Berthelot as Young Jacques, Gregory Forstner as Young Enzo, as Jacques Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.