Scribe-helmer Constantine Giannaris latest film plays like "Around the World in 80 Plot Twists" while taking the template from his previous pic and adding water.

The captain of a Greek oil tanker is besieged by feelings of guilt over his son’s death, as well as a crowd of Farsi-speaking adolescent immigrants he fishes out of the Mediterranean, in “Man at Sea.” Scribe-helmer Constantine Giannaris recycles the template from his previous pic, “Hostage,” in which a sexy immigrant demanded attention for his plight by hijacking a bus, and essentially adds water. But whereas “Hostage” successfully welded suspense, psychology and hot-button issues, Giannaris’s latest plays more like “Around the World in 80 Plot Twists.” Even locally, “Sea” will have a tough time keeping its head above water.

Main problem is pic’s p.o.v., which remains close to the guilt-stricken captain, Alex (Antonis Karystinos), whose personal problems pale compared to those of the strong-willed refugees. Each attempt to get the kids off the ship fails (which becomes unintentionally comical), while the dynamics that develop among Alex, the unasked-for charges and the underpaid crew feel like rough sketches for dramatic exercises rather than a fully developed, coherent plot. Nuances of the mostly English-language dialogue are a mystery to the thesps, but widescreen lensing, heavy on high-angle overhead shots, is aces.

Man at Sea

Greece

Production

A Highway Prods. production, in association with Greek Film Center, ERT, Nova, C. Giannaris Films, Two Thirtyfive. (International sales: Highway Prods., Athens.) Produced by George Lykiardopoulos. Directed, written by Constantine Giannaris.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Aggelos Viskadourakis; editor, Ioanna Spiliopoulou; music, Akis Daoutis; production designer, George Georgiou; costume designer, Triada Papadaki. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 15, 2011. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Antonis Karystinos, Theodora Tzimou, Nikos Tsoukaris, Chalil Ali Zada, Rahim Rahimi, Konstantinos Avarikiotis, Stathis Papadopoulos, Thanasis Tatavlalis, Matina Mavragani, Nikos Tsourakis. (English, Greek, Farsi dialogue)
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