Submergence

I think it might be worth prefacing this by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve offered my thoughts on a piece of art, in any form. I might be a bit rusty. But I want to get back into the swing of things, after all, that journalism degree seems to be gathering dust…

I’m going to start off by telling you that I hate romantic films and I’m not a fan of thrillers. At all. Any whiff of Hollywood romance makes my eyes loll right back into my head. And thrillers? Well, nothing compares to ‘Die Hard’ does it? In fact, the only draws I saw in Wim Wenders’ film adaptation of J. M. Ledgard’s ‘Submergence’ was that it stars one of Glasgow’s finest actors, James McAvoy, and that I could see it on the cheap at the Glasgow Film Festival. You’ve got to represent, right?

The film follows a bio-mathematician (played by Alicia Vikander) and an MI6 agent (James McAvoy) who, after meeting at a remote, French bed and breakfast, fall head over heels for each other. But nothing runs smoothly in these kinds of tales, as the pair are driven apart by their respective missions – James ends up being battered by militants and poor Alicia ends up submerged at the bottom of the ocean.

Do they live happily ever after? Well, I can’t spoil it for you, because I don’t know. And that’s what perhaps bugged me most about this film. I JUST LIKE CLOSURE OK?! Let’s turn that assessment on its head: the film finished too soon, and I wanted to see more. More vast, sweeping visuals of the French coast. More of Vikander’s sensual, subtle performance (nothing new here). More of McAvoy’s cheeky, boyish and wholly Scottish (he’s not playing a posh English dude in this film, much to the joy of the audience – but for the most part, nothing new here either) charm. More suspense. More romance. And that, truly, is the mark of something impressive.

Yes, there were con’s to the film. Act two lurched from James’ angst to Alicia’s becoming tedious at times. And the film’s continuity in terms of hair, make up and costuming could have been tighter.

But, all in all, the film offered up gorgeous visuals and enthralling performances from the film’s leads. The script itself was, for the most part, strong, and, most importantly, I never managed to roll my eyes once. A fine job from Wim Wenders.

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