Here at Screen Goblin, we’ve spent a lot of time watching submarine-based films, for reasons still unclear even to me. A quick look through the periscope reveals a brand new one; Pressure. Or as I call it, Ship Dreck.
Matthew Goode pretends to be a deep-sea diver sent to repair an oil pipeline at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. That’s the first of many elements that fail to convince; others include the script, the directing and the visuals. He’s joined at the bottom of the sea by Danny Huston, Alan McKenna and Joe Cole; not the footballer, although he probably knows a thing or two about diving. All four men offer boring backstories and strained performances; Huston in particular chews the scenery like it’s seafood.
Plotwise, we’re in overly familiar waters. They’re stuck at the bottom of the ocean and quickly running out of oxygen. It’s not rocket science. It’s marine science. With the exception of an unintentionally funny jellyfish scene, there’s nothing here to interest anyone who’s seen Open Water, All Is Lost or even the Royal National Lifeboat Institution advert before the film; a sub-Abyss sub-aqua movie that could only benefit from the introduction of aliens. Or sharks. Or anything. How can a film set at the bottom of the sea be so dry?
With no sense of pace or excitement, the film makes po-faced attempts to explore the existential angst inherent in the survival genre. But the amateurish writing and execution leave us floundering in the depths of boredom, our interest levels plummeting faster than the air pressure. Interminably derivative and predictable as the tides, Ron Scalpello’s film is best left at the bottom of the ocean.