×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Bottom of the Sea

Jealousy leads a young architecture student into dangerous waters in "The Bottom of the Sea," a well-made psychological thriller from Argentine newcomer Damian Szifron. Pic is distinguished by a strong pace and pumped-up tension. An attractive cast and a touch of humor should give it a leg up on international, particularly Spanish lingo markets.

With:
Ezequiel Toledo - Daniel Hendler Ana - Dolores Fonzi Anibal - Gustavo Garzon

Jealousy leads a young architecture student into dangerous waters in “The Bottom of the Sea,” a well-made psychological thriller from Argentine newcomer Damian Szifron. More than its Buenos Aires setting, which remains in the background, pic is distinguished by a strong pace and pumped-up tension, as the youth’s worst fears come true. An attractive cast and a touch of humor should give it a leg up on international and particularly Spanish lingo markets.

Bizarre opening sequence of divers preparing to enter the sea, complete with a brief history of deep-sea diving, seems purely decorative but is woven into the plot later. It introduces the good-looking but obsessive Ezequiel (Daniel Hendler), whose demanding personality has created friction with his neurotic girlfriend Ana (Dolores Fonzi.) Popping by her apartment unannounced, he is shocked to see a man’s hand reaching out from under the bed to grab a stray shoe. Instead of making a scene, however, Ezequiel quietly leaves and stakes out the building.

In a crescendo of crazed detective work, he watches a middle-aged man (Gustavo Garzon) emerge from the lobby and make a phone call, which prompts Ezequiel to start stalking him. Finally he sets the stranger’s car on fire and puts it out himself, then does further damage to it. Eventually, the man realizes the perpetrator is Ana’s boyfriend.

In an atmosphere of increasing menace, climax takes place at a big hotel party. Unfortunately, pic deflates as Ana gives a complete (if clever) explanation for everything Ezequiel has seen and largely misinterpreted. Two more endings later, film concludes on with a wink at its hero as he prepares to go diving into the sea, an all-encompassing metaphor for his own watery and unexplored psyche.

Looking and acting a little bit like an Argentine Nanni Moretti, Hendler brings a maddening self-absorption to the leading role, but is saved in extremis by a sense of irony. As he explains to a young girl he meets, “I’m 26, but immature for my age.” Garzon turns in the strongest perf as the unpleasant Anibal, whose relationship to Ana is more intimate than even Ezequiel suspects.

A well-honed thriller score by Guillermo Guareschi and Nicolas Goldbart’s professional cutting create an atmosphere of exaggerated tension, even when nothing appears to be going on. Pace is just a little drawn out in places. Lucio Bonelli’s lensing is clean and to the point.

The Bottom of the Sea

Argentina

Production: An Aeroplano production. Produced by Sebastian Aloi. Directed, written by Damian Szifron.

Crew: Camera (color), Lucio Bonelli; editor, Nicolas Goldbart; music, Guillermo Guareschi; production designers, Mariela Ripodas, Lucia Espiro; sound, Fernando Soldevila; associate producer, Nathalie Cabiron. Reviewed on videocassette, April 30, 2003. (In Mar del Plata Film Festival.) Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Ezequiel Toledo - Daniel Hendler Ana - Dolores Fonzi Anibal - Gustavo Garzon

More Film

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content