Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dead Calm (1989)

Category: Reviews

Dead CalmA couple, after losing a child, is on a private cruise in the sea when they spot a stranger (Billy Zane) escaping in a dingy from his ship. Sheltering him on their own, the husband (Sam Neill) leaves to check the abandoned ship where all aboard have been dead, though not due to food poisoning but a more creepy reason—one left behind on his ship with his wife (Nicole Kidman). No need to tell more, except that the film doesn’t bother clearing the confusion of the motives driving the psycho to violence. 

Back in the late 80s, when Nicole Kidman still retained her ruddy Five-Mile-Creek look, this thriller would have really thrilled people. But that isn’t the case now. Billy Zane does succeed in looking a little creepy. But his character is loosely construed far as the actual villainy in his role is concerned (dancing and romancing, and softening readily). Sam Neill’s encounter with possible drowning on the abandoned ship is the best art of the movie – something that creates whatever little thrill you may feel in this film. 
Dead Calm is beautifully filmed in blue waters and the editing is superb. Yet the film underwhelms as a thriller. So go for it only if you love watching clear blue waters and/or Sam Neill’s or Kidman’s talent… or perhaps a young Billy Zane in Bermudas.