Shark tale gets bite from lively sis­ter act

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY


Di­rected by Jo­hannes Roberts. Star­ring Claire Holt, Mandy Moore, Chris J. John­son, Yani Gell­man, San­ti­ago A Se­gura, Matthew Mo­dine. Cert 15A, gen re­lease, 85mins

It is pos­si­ble to make a dull, or ir­ri­tat­ingly film in which an elas­mo­branch fish ter­rorises var­i­ous hu­mans in skimpy swimwear. Yet the shark movie never sleeps: it swims on, no mat­ter how big the boat is. 47 Me­tres Down is a sleeper summer hit in the US, an im­pres­sive feat con­sid­er­ing the care­fully con­trolled con­tem­po­rary re­lease sched­ule, not to men­tion heavy­weight com­pe­ti­tion ( Won­der Woman, Cars 3,

All Eyez on Me). The di­a­logue and the set-up – of­ten one and the same thing – is rather rudi­men­tary. There are mul­ti­ple ex­pla­na­tions of the bends. There are many ironic re­as­sur­ances that all will be well: “Don’t worry,” of­fers Capt Matthew Mo­dine, as he low­ers a shark cage into the wa­ter; “You’re only go­ing down five me­tres.” That’s not what it says in the ti­tle, Matthew.

Lisa (Mandy Moore, like­able even when play­ing this mostly whiny char­ac­ter) is the older, bor­ing sis­ter to spir­ited glo­be­trot­ter Kate (Claire Holt). Dur­ing a Mex­i­can hol­i­day, the lat­ter, live­lier sib­ling per­suades the re­cently dumped, dull one to ven­ture out into the ocean with two hand­some lo­cals, and down­wards into the depths in a shark cage.

Be­fore you can say: “What could pos­si­bly go wrong?”, the winch hold­ing the cage snaps and plum­mets to, well, you’ve read the ti­tle. There, blood­thirsty sharks cir­cle. Oxy­gen gauges hit wor­ry­ing lev­els. The ra­dio is just out of range.

Plucky Claire re­sponds with in­ge­nu­ity, al­though soon enough her scaredy-cat sis­ter will have to woman-up and do her bit if the sib­lings are go­ing to make it out alive. This solid ac­tioner might have fea­tured more sharks, or – as with the nail­bit­ing, sim­i­larly themed Open Wa­ter – fea­tured more spa­ces where sharks might be. Still, Bri­tish di­rec­tor Jo­hannes Roberts ( Stor­age 24, The Other Side of the Door) makes de­cent use of the murk (the film was largely shot in a tank in Lon­don) and the sis­ter­hood theme gives the film a broader ap­peal than, say, The

Shal­lows, in which a fetishised and bikinied Blake Lively at­tempted to out­wit a CG great white. A pleas­ing – if some­what pil­fered de­noue­ment – rounds off a per­fectly good yarn.

“You’re only go­ing down five me­tres.” – That’s not what it says in the ti­tle...

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