Directed By: Joachim Heden
Starring: Moa Gammel, Madeleine Martin, Trine Wiggen
Disclaimer: Music Box Films has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Breaking Surface (2020) is a Swedish thriller about survival in the deep, cold and unforgiving ocean. Two sisters go out on what is suppose to be a enjoyable day of deep sea diving. This turns deadly when the younger sister gets trapped under a rock and unable to break free. With limited air supply the sister must act fast in this tension filled film.
I think that the deep dark ocean is a pretty horrifying all by itself. Indeed, its no wonder many folk lore about the sea have been told throughout human history. Director Joachim Heden taps into this very primal fear Breaking Surface. Right from the very first few minutes, the movie does a pretty good job at building and setting up emotional stakes. It telegraphs plainly that this movie is going to be focused on good and compelling storytelling and not just jump scares and loud noises that are meant to convey fear. And, I think for the most part the movie is a white-knuckled survival story that is impactful because of the character development it manages to build in such a short amount of time.
The filmmakers also do a good job at explaining some of the diving aspects in a way that feels organic and not forced. Visually Breaking Surface is also excellent a nightmarish kaleidoscope of greens and blues and pitch black darkness. Heden masterfully uses the camera to project just how claustrophobic and isolating the ocean can be. More impressive is how the filmmakers take such a limited setting but found ways to amp the stakes whilst also keeping it stagnant. This may seem easy but when you have something that is paper thin like this, its not easy to keep things not only constantly moving but also feeling fresh. If I had to lobby a minor complaint I think the film does feel a bit predictable.
A tension filled thriller that, like the ocean itself has depth.
Picture: Breaking Surface is thankfully put onto 1080p instead of DVD. The movie is so visually stunning, what with the ocean shots not to mention the breathtaking Swedish countryside in winter. The image is overall incredibly sharp and really takes full advantage of the 1080p format.
Sound: Breaking Surface is in Swedish w/English subtitles. It has a nice powerful DTS 5.1 which really makes the effects driven parts of the film really pop. Also includes a DTS 2.0 track.
Extras: Breaking Surface has a nice array of extras including: Making of, 5 Questions with Dive Coordinator Ian Creed, Underwater Set Construction Time lapse, Shooting the Propeller Scene, Lights, Camera Brussel Sprouts, VFX Reel, Trailer, TV Spots and Image Gallery