'Dark Tide'

A soap opera with shark attacks, pic contains a few alarming sequences but loses its grip on its material.

It’s a murky sea that surrounds “Dark Tide.” A soap opera with shark attacks, pic contains a few alarming sequences but loses its grip on its material — and the viewer — in a swirling vortex of visual confusion. Helmer John Stockwell sometimes seems unsure whether he’s making a wildlife film or one featuring Halle Berry in her bikini, and the upshot is clear sailing to home vid.

Berry does yeoman work as Kate, dedicated explorer who literally swims with the sharks until she’s traumatized by a friend’s accidental death, and Olivier Martinez is fine as the b.f. who tries to save Kate and her boat by bringing aboard an obnoxious 1% type (a pitch-perfect Ralph Brown), who may have a death wish. But the thinness of the script is accentuated by protracted and digressive subplots, character exchanges that don’t propel the narrative, and long, languorous shots of the ocean off Capetown, a stunning location that simply looks washed out here. Some of the underwater footage is used well, including one impressive sequence that combines sea life and a hallucination, but matters are mostly, in a word, soggy.

Dark Tide

Production

A Wrekin Hill Entertainment release, presented in association with Row 1 Prods., of a Magnet Media Prods. and Mirabelle Pictures presentation, in association with the Infinite Ammo Motion Picture Co. and IM Global, of a Magnet Media Group and Mirabelle Pictures production. Produced by Jeanette Buerling, Matthew E. Chausse. Executive producers, Sukee Chew, John Michaels, Maggie Monteith, Adi Shankar, Martin Shore, Spencer Silna, Christopher Tuffin. Co-producer, Vlokkie Gordon, David Wicht. Co-executive producer, Eric van den Eijnden. Directed by John Stockwell. Screenplay, Amy Sorlie, Ronnie Christensen.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Jean-Francois Hensgens; editor, Andrew MacRitchie; music, Mark "Dog" Sayfritz. Reviewed at Village East Cinema, New York, March 30, 2012. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown.

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