Good Movies: Deep Water

Deep Water is a documentary that has all of the suspense of a drama.  It is based on the London Sunday Times’ 1968-69 contest to sail solo around the world non-stop.  No one had ever done this, although one man, Franacis Chichester,  had sailed solo with an extensive stop for supplies and repairs.  Nine men set out on this odyssey, which offered fame and glory in addition to a substantial cash prize.  Only one of them was to finish.

Deep WaterAlthough the film focuses most on Donald Crowhurst and his tragic story, it does provide the overall picture and includes extras that do have more information about the other eight men.  Although obviously pieced together with footage from available sources, the elements of suspense, adventure, and impending doom are not dimmed.  The interviews with family members, both before, during, and after the race contribute much.  Also a strong plus for this film is its inquiry into the psychology of risk and adventure.  I though that it does this without glamorizing and certainly without judging.  The toll taken by adventurers on their wives and children is shown with empathy, but without harsh denunciation.

I thought the film did a good job of presenting and exploring loneliness and the courage and stamina needed to cope with the emensity of the sea in a small boat.  The wide shots of the vast and empty ocean are powerful.  I was reminded of a trip I made across the country alone and on a motorcycle.  There was a road I traveled in Colorado and into Utah where I felt a powerful feeling of vastness and emptiness and aloneness.  There were no cars, no towns, no human sounds, no radio signals.  I can still recall that feeling, and it returned while watching Deep Water.

I will not go into story of Donald Crowhurst and the manner in which he became the only contestant to lose his life.  If you are not aware, you should watch the film and let the story unfold.

View the film trailer:


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