Presented by Berwick Film Society
Baltasar Kormákur is one of Iceland’s foremost filmmakers, whose career recently took him to Hollywood before returning to his home country to tell a story from Iceland’s more recent history, as part of a personal project he also wrote and produced.
The film tells the real-life tale of the fishing vessel Breki, which sank off the coast of the Westman Islands, Iceland, in 1984. The news was sadly not especially unfamiliar in Iceland’s maritime history, but instead was remembered for the extraordinary survival story that emerged from it. Nearly 30 years later, it has received a powerful retelling on screen – one which equals the spectacular action sequences of its American rivals, yet which offers a quieter and more reflective enquiry into what we have witnessed, defying the expected pattern of most disaster dramas.
Fishing has been a longstanding mainstay of Icelanders’ livelihoods. As a film set almost entirely on, and in, the sea, The Deep pays respect to the men who make a living on, and lose their lives to, the North Atlantic. The action is close and the sense of danger very real, with visceral immediacy achieved on location.
The film’s central character is fisherman Gulli (stoically played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, 101 Reykjavik, Contraband) who becomes an unlikely figure of growing fascination to the audience as he does from the numerous mariners, scientists and journalists who investigate the story and personality of a reluctant hero.
Having continually challenged our willingness to believe what we have watched unfolding, the film then reserves one of its most effective moments for the end credits, which are punctuated with uncannily familiar fragments of documentary footage.
“A gripping journey through stormy waters and survivalist guilt, with some surprising black humour.”
- Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman
Icelandic Baltasar Kormákur is an actor, producer and director whose work spans theatre, movies and television. In 2000, he wrote, directed, acted in and produced the feature film 101 Reykjavik, which became an international hit, earning the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. His latest blockbuster thriller 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, released in August 2013, won the Variety Piazza Grande Award at the Locarno International Film Festival.
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