A rudderless mystery that aims to reinvent Boys Own treasure-hunt yarns for modern tastes, “The Nautical Chart’s” leaking plotline struggles to keep the pic afloat. Despite go-for-it perfs from reliable Spanish vets Carmelo Gomez and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon and top production values — particularly Javier Aguirresarobe’s lavish lensing — pic is plodding fare that moves predictably from set piece to set piece but lacks dramatic undertow. Like last year’s biggest Spanish hit “Alatriste,” “Chart” is based on work by popular writer Arturo Perez-Reverte and home B.O. has accordingly been fine. But, pic looks unlikely to dock at many offshore harbors.
Tanger Soto (Sanchez-Gijon) outbids Italian crook Nino Palermo (Enrico Lo Verso) and Argentinean Kiskoros (Gonzalo Cunill) for a valuable 18th century maritime atlas at a Barcelona auction. Afterward, unemployed sailor Coy (Gomez) steps in when he sees Palermo threatening Tanger, and ends up following Tanger to the Madrid naval museum where she works.
When Coy spots an error on the atlas map, Tanger reveals she bought the document because she believes it might lead her to a brigantine that sunk off Spain’s southern coast.
Tanger offers Coy a job helping her locate the ship, and Coy agrees, having fallen for Tanger hook, line and sinker. The duo takes off with Palermo and Kiskoros trailing them.
With the aid of an old buddy of Coy’s (Javier Garcia Gallego), they search for the ship, which Palermo tells Coy contains a treasure of emeralds.
Another revelation, well into pic’s second half, renders the previous 30 minutes implausible: Someone in Tanger’s position would never have made the kind of error that the plot depends upon at this point.
Although the lead thesps inject life into the basically cardboard roles, Sanchez-Gijon lacks the air of danger that would have made her femme fatale convincing.
Lensing takes good advantage of the striking coastline and seascapes of southern Spain and includes swooping aerial shots as well as some impressive underwater footage. Much time is dedicated to an entirely superfluous voiceover from Coy.