×
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

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Jermaine Fowler arrives at the 69th

    Jermaine Fowler to Co-Star With Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jermaine Fowler is set to play one of the leads opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount’s sequel “Coming 2 America,” sources tell Variety. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is on board to direct the pic with the studio planning an August 7, 2020 release. Plot details of “Coming 2 America” are unknown, as are the [...]

  • Henry Golding attends the Fragrance Foundation

    Henry Golding Starts Long House Shingle With 'Inheritance,' 'Harrington's Greatest Hits'

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding has started Long House Productions in partnership with China’s Starlight Cultural Entertainment Group with two features in the works. Golding’s first feature under the Long House banner is action adventure “The Inheritance,” based on an original story idea by Alistair Hudson and Golding. Hudson is writing the script for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content