Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Reef (2010)

The Reef (2010) Dir. by Andrew Traucki

Luke welcomes his friend Matt and his girlfriend Suzie that come from London and Matt's sister and Luke's former girlfriend Kate that comes from Sydney to sail with him and the sailor Warren in a sailboat. However, the vessel hits an underwater rock and capsizes with an opening on her bottom. Luke advises that they should swim in the north direction to reach the Turtle Island, in Queensland, Australia, while they have strength since there is a current moving the boat in the opposite direction of land but Warren prefers to stay on the hull waiting for help since there are sharks in the water. The quartet swims, but they are hunted by a great white shark. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on

If you are not familiar with Traucki, go watch the movie Black Water. The guy is relatively new to the whole filmmaker scene but he is surely making an impact quickly. I look forward for him to start to branch out a bit in what he does, but he has the "Based on True Events" down to a science. There is something about the way he makes these movies that it does manage to keep you fairly engaged.

I can't really say much about the acting, other than there isn't much of it, and there doesn't have to be. I mean, for the most part the characters are stuck in the middle of the ocean and there isn't a lot to be said. The men do manly things, and the girls yell, whine and scream a lot. It is pretty annoying at times. During the beginning, and some of the down moments in the film Traucki does manage to do what he does best, and that is get you to feel for the characters and relate to them. I think this ability is what makes his films as affective as they are.

There are a lot of things that are really great about The Reef. The camera work, for instance, is really creative and manages to balance on a thin line between shaky cam and Hollywood mainstream. The camera (and the story itself) always gives the perspective of the people, and nothing more. It is actually perfectly done, as you always know nothing more than the characters. This is one of the reasons the tension is so easy to build. The shark itself is never mulled down by crappy CGI effects, and this I loved very much. There was something about seeing a realistic dorsal fin floating along the horizon in the distance that really gave me goosebumps. I'm pretty sure I saw moments where I could tell the people and the shark were filmed at separate times, but it was a tough catch. The pacing of the film came to get to me after a while, but thank goodness the film is so short that it didn't really matter. All I can say is that it is ten times better than Open Water, which I didn't care for at all. It was nice to see something done right for a change, although it was still no Jaws or Orca.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Big fish nibbling at your toes
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Big fish nibbling at your toes

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