The Dive is a new scuba-diving movie hitting the big screen on Friday (25 August), starring Sophie Lowe from Medieval and Louisa Krause from Billions, with much of the footage – underwater and topside – shot in the popular diving destination of Malta (though the location is never specifically mentioned).
Directed by Maximilian Erlenwein, and co-written by Erlenwein, with Joachim Heden, The Dive focuses on two sisters, Drew and May, whose dive together off the rocky shoreline is abruptly cut short when a landslide above water sends a cascade of boulders down on top of them, leaving May trapped down at 28m by the debris.
What follows is a frantic race against time as remorselessly dropping levels of air and cold temperatures put the trapped May's life in danger, and Drew goes to increasingly desperate means both above and below the waterline as she fights for her sister's survival.
The Dive: Review
Mark Evans: I'll be the first to admit, my heart always sinks when I see the release of a new ‘diving movie', as inevitably they will involved some lousy CGI sharks, an improbable storyline and totally unbelievable diving situations – think 47 Metres Down and the like.
So it was more than a little refreshing to find that The Dive has none of this. It is pretty much a two-hander between the two female leads, with the camera firmly focused on them and their complex personal relationship, and then the perilous scenario they find themselves in underwater when a routine dive goes horribly wrong.
Some of the topside and underwater set-pieces are a little formulaic, and the source of the pre-dive tension between the sisters ends up being a bit lame once you get to the bottom of it, but overall, I enjoyed The Dive. Malta's distinctive scenery is nicely showcased, there are some genuinely taut moments, and while I'd already worked out a few elements leading to the dramatic ending, a MacGyver-esque use of non-diving equipment made me smile.
This is not a shiny, all-singing, all-dancing, big-budget Hollywood underwater thriller in the mould of Into the Blue, for instance, this is very much a low-budget, indie production, but it is awesome to have a diving movie that is trying something different rather than the tired, hackneyed plots of most of the recent garbage to sully my eyeballs.
It isn't all-new, though – it seems to me to be a remake of 2020 Swedish thriller Breaking Surface, which again revolved around two sisters with a strained relationship, one trapped by a rockfall underwater and the other struggling to rescue her, even down to some of the particular set-pieces.
Apparently, none of The Dive's underwater sequences involved CGI, and neither of the two leads had any previous diving experience. I have to say, they actually look very relaxed and confident when they are diving, and it is nice to see some decent equipment being used (I am one of those sad people who look at the gear on any divers in movies!). Hats off to Louisa and especially Sophie, who managed to convey emotion, panic, fear, desperation and elation, when in a very-limiting environment. Even with their Steve Backshall-like full-face masks allowing them to speak to one another, with most of the shots being dark and underwater, they had to go above and beyond to keep your attention firmly rooted on their dire situation, and they did a sterling job indeed.
Yes, we all know there will be those divers out there who will leap on some of the more-fanciful diving situations, but at the end of the day, this is a movie, not a factual documentary, so give Erlenwein and his two leading ladies a break, set aside your disbelief, and just tuck into your popcorn and enjoy The Dive for what it is.