I was recently invited to preview Submergence, a romantic thriller starring James McAvoy (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Split, X-Men: Apocalypse, Atonement, The Last King of Scotland) and Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Ex Machina).
J.M. Ledgard, a social and political journalist, who has covered stories throughout Africa for The Economist magazine, is the author of the novel Submergence. Erin Dignam (The Last Face) wrote the screenplay and the film was directed by Wim Wenders (The Salt of the Earth, Wings of Desire).
James More (McAvoy) and Danielle Flinders (Vikander) first meet briefly on a beach in Normandy. Staying at the same hotel, they soon find themselves connecting on all levels.
Danielle is preparing for a dangerous mission, she leaves in a month to the deep darkness of the Artic ocean. As a bio-mathematician, she is passionately collecting data to support her theory on the origin of life in our planet. It is important; potentially life-altering work and she cannot afford any distraction.
James, we learn has a talent for dodging personal questions by supplying/creating just enough to satisfy Danielle's curiosity. It's not long before they fall deeply in love and decide to continue the relationship regardless of any obstacles they could potentially encounter due to distance and work commitments.
Unknown to Danielle, James is heading on a mission of his own. He works for the British Secret Service and is on route to Somalia to track down a source for suicide bombers planning to infiltrate Europe. When his mission is goes south, he is unable to contact her. After not being able to reach him for weeks, she sets to complete her mission and descend her submersible into the deepest part of the ocean not knowing why she hasn't heard from him. Did something happen to him or did he just fall out of love?
This film aimed to not only tell a story but highlight big world issues. The main plot is set in our very real and complex world. A world that is much bigger than we at times care to think about. Our knowledge of it is still expanding as we continue to explore and understand our planet. While others deal with the complications of barbarous conflict in order to protect it or gain power over it. This is clearly drawn from the author's own experience in Africa and his obsession with ocean life.
Wenders: "What I really hope is on a rainy Thursday night in Bristol or Detroit or wherever you are, when you come out of the cinema, your perspective of the planet, on your own habits, is just altered slightly. You will realize how large the world is, how varied it is, but also how fragile it is."
Submergence is beautifully filmed. Spectacular sweeping scenery captured in several locations including Toulon, Spain, Germany, Djibouti, Faroe Islands, Brest and the Normandy coast in France. The film is also cinematically interesting, creating at times an eerie suspenseful feel.
McAvoy and Vikander share great chemistry. You cannot help but admire their individual commitment to their missions. It is also refreshing to see an adult relationship with real conversations and concerns.
However, personally I felt something overall was lacking. I couldn't put my finger on what exactly made it flat at times, as it has all the ingredients of a fantastic film; love, science and spies. I am still happy to have seen it and believe the message and educational value alone is worth the watch.
James McAvoy: "Audiences will be moved by a beautiful love story and they will be terrified for the characters but I think that they are going to be surprised at how educational the film is as well - about what is happening in our world both geo-politically and in terms of the danger the world is in physically. That does not sound like a love story and yet it is - it's about a love for your mission, a love for your belief, a love for your planet, a love between the characters, a love for your God; it is a love for all those things."
OUT IN CINEMAS 16th Of August 2018
DIRECTED BY Wim Wenders
Yarraville Sun Palace Como
Palace Dendy Brighton
NEW SOUTH WALES
Majestic Port Macquarie
Majestic Nambour (Commences 23rd Aug)
Wallis Mt Barker
Palace / Nova Adelaide