Entertainment

Review: Is '47 Meters Down' worth the plunge?

Posted June 17

THE MOVIE THEATER — The recipe is simple: Create a scenario where two people with a limited supply of oxygen find themselves trapped in a small metal cage at the bottom of the ocean surrounded by sharks. Liberally apply Murphy’s law, boil for an 1 1/2 hours and what we are left with is the movie “47 Meters Down” starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt.

If you’re looking for a summer movie that is filled with situations you hope you never find yourself in and are happy to walk out of at the end, then “47 Meters Down” is the movie for you. It is a decent movie for what you get, but it's not without some good and bad elements.

The good

Lots of tension

The director Johannes Roberts checks off all of the boxes for what it takes to keep tension on the line in this movie. The trick to Robert’s approach is to never let the audience see more than the main characters— this keeps us tied to their circumstance but powerless to help.

Another great tension setter in this film is the use of oxygen as a limited resource. Whether you realize it or not, most of this film is a race against time. It caused me to subconsciously hold my breath a lot of the time while watching the movie as if I were trying to conserve on oxygen. It wasn’t until after I walked out I was aware of this and finally relaxed.

Good time for a shark movie

I think the studio hit a sweet spot in the summer movie schedule. This film probably won’t run away at the box office, but it should stay in theaters throughout the summer to give anyone who’s in the mood a chance to see it. I see “47 Meters Down” as a good date movie, providing ample opportunity to hold onto whomever you're sitting next to.

Bad

Thin story

If you are looking for a compelling storyline, you're considering the wrong movie. The plot and storyline for “47 Meters Down” are weak. The first part of the movie dedicated to setting up the action was no more than a formality. The lead up to the meat of the movie was about as contrived as it comes. Fortunately, the film did manage to keep me interested enough that I had a bit of an investment in the outcome.

Shallow acting

As with my complaint about the story barely providing what was needed to move the plot from point A to point B, so too is my complaint about the acting. Moore and Holt do an adequate job in conveying existential fear and mortal dread but that is about the best we get from them. Anything that requires dialogue is always on the cusp of pulling you out of the moment, due to weak delivery and lack of commitment.

It was questionable early on if I would even care about the characters by the end of the film, and in the end, I kind of did for a minute.

Conclusion

I won’t say I loved this film, but I also didn’t hate it. I was taken for the existential ride the director intended but wasn’t compelled to like it more than that. I can, however, say I did like this movie better than “The Shallows” with Blake Lively from last year. All in all, I don’t think many people will complain that they didn’t get their money’s worth during “47 Meters Down.”

This movie is rated PG-13 for language and some shark-on-human violence, resulting in some pretty nasty open wounds.

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