Release Date: 17 June 2011

Directed By Alister Grierson
Screenplay By: John Garvin, Andrew Wight

Produced By
Ben Browning, James Cameron, Ryan Kavanaugh, Michael Maher, Peter Rawlinson, Andrew Wight

Cast:
Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Daniel Wyllie, Christopher Baker, Nicole Downs, Allison Cratchley, Cramer Cain

Genre: Action/Adventure
Classification: 13LV
Running Time: 108min

Sanctum

Looking back on this film there is a lot for me to say about Sanctum, sadly not good things although I know the heart that goes into making a movie. It should have gone straight to DVD if its intention was to train the next generation in film-making.

The film is based on a true story of a cave diver’s expedition into the Esa-ala Caves of Papua New Guine, which is said to be the largest cave system on the planet. Frank Mcquire (Richard Roxburgh)is a master diver taking along his 17 year old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield), financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd) and other crew along on this expedition. Richard Roxburgh has an impressive list of castings behind him like Van Hellsing, Moulin Rouge and Mission Impossible 2 to name a few. Off course most of the people in the Marvel universe will know Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic from the movie, The Fantastic Four. When the expedition’s exit out of the cave is cut off prematurely by a flood resulting from a storm, they are forced to radically alter their plans. With their supplies underwater from the flood, Frank and his team must face the unmapped underwater cave system to make it out….

The storyline follows a similar pattern in similar films i.e. usually one guy makes it out alive. Thinking aloud, “Is it just a very odd coincidence for a true story?” Another observation begs a second question: “Why was this film shot in 3D”? With all the close-ups accompanied by low lighting it would have been fine without it because it wasn’t spectacular with it. What I also did not like is the dead give away that this is make believe with the awareness of the back-light in some of the cave shots.

From a story point of view, I felt the end was very flat leaving me with one thought of the story as a whole. Was it built around a teenager getting closer to his father in some odd way and the backdrop was a cave expedition? Like me, some of the audience will not know its a true story. It would have worked on some level if they both made it out alive if that was the angle but it would have conflicted with true events. But in saying that one could have found a different approach. The film poses a moral question: “Is it all-right to take a life if your life is on the line?” What didn’t work narratively here is the film answering the moral question for the audience. Now this is a problem when your sub-plot becomes your theme and the true theme moves out of focus. It might make for great debate but I wont buy it for my DVD collection.

Ioan Gruffudd wanted to look more natural in his acting with starting out calm and moving to a raw edge. It looked phoney! Bad directing because we know he can act. His downward spiral was too weak in during the story and all of a sudden he goes over the edge. A few shots of a facial expression that he is hiding his true fear would have helped the audience connect with him going over the edge, which is not an option if a film has a lot of close-ups already. I expected more from the film seeing that James Cameron was the executive producer. It gets a narrow three out of ten. See you at the movies.

PS. The film uses language that might be offence to sensitive viewers.

Review By Jozua Judah

the grass is always greener on the welded side

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