Not too deep.
Before seeing "The Deep" you might think that you have a pretty exciting
experience ahead of you...after all it's based on a novel of the writer of
"Jaws" (assuming you consider the script of "Jaws" one of its main
virtues...), it's got a great cast and it's filmed in beautiful, natural
exotic locations. But the film soon gets bogged down in long underwater
sequences, and the action is scarce. I think the main problem is that it
focuses too much on its story and not enough on its characters - notice how
little casual character interaction there is in this film, Nolte and Bisset
are supposed to be a couple and yet have only one scene to themselves.
What does the ocean bestow today?
After the success that was "Jaws", another attempt for a Hollywood
blockbuster was delivered; "The Deep". This underwater
action-adventurer taken off a Peter Benchley novel (who's was the man
responsible for the story "Jaws") bestows some much promise, but just
never seems to get the propeller truly started. I've tried watching it
a couple times before, but just couldn't get fully into it until now.
There seems to be so much going on, but it keeps it too
straight-forward for its lengthy time frame (just over two hours) and
dwells upon some pondering talky scenes with little character
development. Benchley would adept his own novel with a screenplay that
throws up an interesting mixture, but never entirely balances out its
ideas concisely. Nevertheless when it decides to head out to sea
there's beautifully scenic and lush locations and well-shot underwater
photography. Half of the film is spent under the ocean, where most of
the suspense derives from; in the name of a sunken ship, morphine,
treasure, giant eel and lurking sharks. Robert Shaw (who did star in
"Jaws" previously) and Louis Gossett Jnr (in a menacing turn) are
simply outstanding, especially Shaw's exemplary profound presence. Nick
Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset are acceptable and Eli Wallach makes most
of his minor screen time. Also popping in are muscle men Robert Tessier
and Bob Minor --- who do come to blows in one memorable fight. Peter
Yates' direction feels conservative with its laboured pacing, despite
the bold and expansive nature of the shot. Even with its dangerous
undercurrent, exciting passages are short and far between but those
achieved are arrestingly executed. John Barry scores a vivid musical
piece that fit's the locale air. An adequate presentation, which never
reaches the great depths it, could have gone..