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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Deep


Starring: Robert Shaw, Jacqueline Bisset and Nick Nolte
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 19 October 2009

Romer Treece has given up his previous life as a treasure hunter for quite solitude, until a couple, David Sanders and Gail Berke, discovers a golden medallion whist excavating an old WWII wreck. The idea that the wreck may be sitting on top of a much greater find intrigues not only Treece but also the local drugs baron Cloche who is more interested in the stock of drugs that the ship was supposed to have been carrying. There is booty to be had but first the group have to survive the ship's unexploded ordinance, a boat load of drug bullies and a rather nasty moray eel...

The Deep (1977 - 2 hr, 4 min, 30 sec) is an old style action adventure film directed by Peter Yates, from a script by Peter Benchley which he adapted from his own novel. The film was nominated for an Oscar for best sound.

Although the film was supposed to have been a vehicle for Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset, it is Robert Shaw who steals the show, closely followed by Eli Wallach, who plays the only survivor of the WWII ship. In tone and tempo the film is not dissimilar to Jaws (1975) and undoubtedly hoped to cash in on that film's success. Where The Deep fails is that it is overly long for the gossamer story, Yates does a lot of good work maintaining the suspense but by the time of the film's climax most people would have lost the will to watch.

The cast are well placed in their roles, Bisset is as beautiful as ever, I think most men, at the time, would have followed her to the ends of the earth, which makes Nolte's character choices all the more reasonable, even if they are being driven by money and his nether regions. Whereas Jaws relied on the premise that what was scary was what lay beneath The Deep breaks that barrier with some spectacular under water sequences. There are some high points to the film, the attack by the moray eel is convincing in an age without CGI.

The movie is presented in 2.35:1 Panavision widescreen. There seems to have been little in the way of modern processing done to the picture and the slightly soft picture is indicative of films of that era. The sound suffers more as the remixed Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track changes the original soundscape which gained the film an Oscar nomination, even some of the voices sound unduly muffled.

The Making of The Deep (48 min, 40 sec) is a documentary about making the film, narrated by Robert Shaw; it’s the usual stuff which details the making of the film, with contribution from cast and crew. It’s okay but there is nothing here which will surprise, except the poor quality of the picture. Fans will love it. Next up is Selected Scenes from the 3 hour Special Edition which consists of six scenes of various lengths, which add a little to the overall narrative but does beg the question why this release isn’t the three hour version. Once again, there is BDlive but no current content.

It’s a bit long and a little too corny for my tastes, but it still holds up as a respectable Sunday afternoon movie.


Charles Packer

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