HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN
(director/writer: Andrew Walsh; cinematographer: Scott David Lister; editor: Ivan Malekin; music: Michael Mumford; cast: Olivia Fildes (Eleanor Gray), Cris Cochrane (Roy), Adam Rowland (Charlie Frost), Will Weatheritt (Matt), Claire Duncan (Emily), Laura Bellomo (Kylie); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Daniela Ercoli, Dia Taylor; A W Pictures; 2023-Australia)
“Intimate low-budget indie.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Aussie filmmaker Andrew Walsh, known for his short film The Comedian, is the first time feature film director for this intimate low-budget indie. It’s well-acted, sets a bleak mood through its great photography, and has good location shots. The promising but unfulfilling story is filmed as if a John Cassavetes-like improvised drama about a 20-something woman, Eleanor Gray (Olivia Fildes), who leaves Adelaide and becomes a drifter running from her troubled past and in search of happiness and stability. She arrives in Melbourne with only the clothes on her back.
The film chronicles Eleanor’s tale of woe for a year.
The down and out Eleanor shares a room in a seedy boarding house, on the outskirts of town, with the alcoholic landlord Roy (Cris Cochrane). She hooks up with his best friend Charlie (Adam Rowland) and they go to the beach together, but nothing comes from either of these ugly encounters.
Her life is at a dead-end, like the low-paying dead-end jobs she can’t keep and the crude unkempt men she keeps meeting, and the hopeless affair she has with a married man.
The story follows her self-destructive and aimless journey, and of her meeting all sorts of losers and fellow exiles on her way to ending the year by walking into the ocean with her clothes on.
The non-challenging film raises more questions about her life than answers. It never lets me in on why Eleanor is so messed up, or does it give me any reason to root for her to succeed. Nevertheless I found the film at times an interesting depiction of someone continually making bad decisions about how to survive.
REVIEWED ON 1/21/2024 GRADE: B-