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|Index||119 reviews in total|
50 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
A great horror thriller in the style of Eric Red, 29 May 2002
Author: Bogey Man from Finland
Dead Calm is directed by Australian film maker Philip Noyce (Patriot Games,
Clear and Present Danger) and he is very talented director. This film stars
young Nicole Kidman (21-22 years old in this film!) as a wife to Sam Neill
and they have lost their son in a horrible car accident. They want to get
over it and so they go to the sea with their boat and spend several weeks
there. All is going fine and they are going to get over the loss of their
son, but soon they discover an abandoned looking ship in the horizon and a
man (Billy Zane) paddling desperately towards them. The man reaches the ship
and the couple helps him on the board. He is little confusing and suspicious
and soon his real nature is revealed...
This is extremely pleasant thriller and reminds me of films written by Eric Red (The Hitcher, Near Dark, Blue Steel) and these four films are very similar. The atmosphere in Dead Calm is very haunting and incredibly restrained. The atmosphere is also very similar to David Lynch and Lost Highway and Twin Peaks. The music is very important element in Dead Calm (as is in The Hitcher and Near Dark, too) and the overall feeling is very threatening and ominous. There are many exciting and breath taking scenes such as the one in which Sam Neill is trapped in a boat that is sinking and filling with water. With music, the photography is great and there are definitely no technical flaws in this great and surprisingly effective flick.
The young Nicole Kidman is so talented and acts perfectly. No one can say she can't act. Just look at her face and expressions: she is the main character in here and she is almost in every scene and she does nothing wrong or never acts over the top. The other actor's are also great, Sam Neill and Bill Zane, even though Zane goes little too far in couple of scenes and is not too believable. But overall, because there are so many great elements here, these little flaws and illogical plot turns can be forgiven.
Philip Noyce is worth watching director and he has done also other effective thrillers, but I think this will be one of his greatest achievements. Dead Calm is highly recommended.
32 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
A Full-Blooded Thriller, 21 December 1998
Author: drewp-2 from USA
This great suspense, thriller will have you gripping your seat in every scene. I'm serious. It is one of those that never lets its pace slow down. The realistic plot keeps you thinking, What if that happened to me?, also its not far fetched at all, every scene is acted and directed in a very realistic way, unlike other suspense films which like to stray from reality. The excellent acting, direction and the nail-biting music score keep you tangled up in the suspense filled story, you look past it's minor flaws. It is one of those movies you don't forget. Definitely a must see. Grab onto the arm-rest of your couch before you fall overboard, it's intense. ***1/2 out of ****
27 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
One location 3 actors, 14 June 2004
A terrific thriller set on the sea with three fine actors portraying characters of control, resurrection, and unbalance. Sam Neil portrays the fearless, in control naval captain. His abilities combined with the institution of marriage display a refine existence. Compare Neil's abilities with Billy Zane's self induced party boy image who survives by the primitive nature of man and you will see structure verses chaos. Zane's character is sexy and alluring therefore irresistible to sexual stimuli. Nicole Kidman is faced with recovering from the loss of her child; shown, in the start of the film, being thrown out of the front of a car windshield. There, in the dead calm of an open sea, she must resurrect her abilities of courage and strength. She faces off the unbalanced nature of Zane's character using her sexual allure as well but in a very different capacity. It is all about survival using the tools given to you and the tools you acquire. A brilliant thriller set in one location. Directed with sexual tension. ***
19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Highly Recommended Thriller, 30 March 2003
Author: dragoneyez01 from USA
I've seen this several times over the years, and I must say this is a really
good thriller. It always keeps me interested. Also, since I'm interested in
the sea and ships, that's probably part of the reason why I like the movie
A young Nicole Kidman plays Rae, the wife of John Ingram (Sam Neill), who are taking a sailing trip in the Pacific after losing their only son in an automobile accident. They are having fun sailing through the ocean when they come to a sinking schooner with a man paddling frantically towards their boat in a lifeboat. The man, Hughie Warriner (Billy Zane), turns out to be a crazed lunatic, and when John goes off to check the schooner, Hughie kidnaps his wife and his ship. They are in the fight of their life.
Nicole Kidman is both beautiful and talented. She doesn't say much in the movie, but her expressions and actions are well portrayed. Billy Zane is a convincing psychopath and Sam Neill is a good actor also. The cinematography is great and the scenery is really beautiful. The only real problem with the movie is the plot.
The movie's conflict could've easily been resolved had it not been for stupid mistakes. The script relies too heavily on these stupid mistakes. Nicole's character gets numerous chances to kill the psychopath, but she never takes them. And anyone in their right mind wouldn't leave their wife with a stranger to check out a strange ship. The characters' lack of common sense is really what keeps the story moving.
But, these plot holes can be forgiven. The acting is great, the direction is great, the cinematography is great. The script could've used more work, but that is forgivable. If you enjoy thrillers or are interested in the sea and ships, I suggest you check this movie out. You won't be disappointed.
18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Excellent thriller, 22 January 2004
I really felt in suspense throughout Dead Calm. Sam Neill as the everyman and Nicole Kidman as his recovering wife were wholly believable as grieving parents taking a vacation to move past their tragedies. Billy Zane as the disturbed third wheel (see Titanic, Head Above Water) in the relationship was also very effective in his role. The suspense builds throughout and leads to a very memorable climax. Recommended, 7/10.
24 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Near perfect (but for ending), 16 January 2004
I think this movie stands up very well. As when I first saw it, I think the extra thrill ending is tacked on, unnecessary. Otherwise, pacing, music, acting all combine for solid thriller. Nicole looks different, but almost more fabulous then. Revell's music is superb. Zane is great villain. Sailing knowledge seems first-rate. Tense, taut, highly recommended.
18 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Film, 27 July 2000
Author: nmp381 from Ny
Dead Calm is one of those rare thrillers with good acting, suspense and great setting. The ocean setting really makes this film, as well as the 2 boats. Kidman is a realistic and resourceful character and because the film had only 3 main characters throughout the whole movie, you go through the same emotions the actors do in the film. The ending seemed tacked on, but because the whole film is so good, the ending doesn't hurt nor help the film. Well paced, acted and overall great movie. 9/10
14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Oh, please...., 18 August 2005
Author: tbflaherty from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe I have seen too many movies. I get tired of seeing people do the
most absurd things to keep the story going, like the teen-age girl who
continues into a house at night after a human head has just rolled out
the front door and stopped at her feet.
This time, we have a man, understandably concerned about his wife's frail mental/emotional state, leaving her on a boat with a guy he doesn't know and has every reason to suspect might be unbalanced or at least very strange. Who would do such a thing? 'Course, he did lock the guy in a room with a 79-cent door bolt. And, on it goes.
The film is technically superb, well acted and directed, etc., but the story has some major holes. Good film if you are good at suspending logical thinking or at least willing to forgive very unlikely behavior.
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Terrific Thriller!, 12 July 2002
Author: comquest from Atlanta, GA
I absolutely love 'Dead Calm'. It is among my favorite movies, and I've
probably watched it 5 or 6 times over the years.
'Lost at sea' stories have always appealed to me and this one is, in my opinion, one of the best ever filmed. The plot and characters are original and quirky, which sets 'Dead Calm' apart from the stacks of other sea tales. This is a truly intense thriller -- packed with so many twists and turns that it's totally compelling from beginning to end.
Nicole Kidman is positively stunning as Rae Ingram, a strong and invincible young woman who is determined to rescue her husband, John (Sam Neill). Billy Zane is incredibly good as the villain, Hughie Warriner. He is so convincing and scary that, to this day, I find it difficult to watch Zane in other films without thinking of Hughie.
'Dead Calm' delivers an engrossing story that is well performed and very unique.
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
I haven't seen a film like this in a very long time., 8 May 2005
Author: Egg_MacGuffin from Pennsylvania, USA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll start this review by saying that I will probably be spoiling
certain scenes from the film, so if you haven't seen it, go to Circuit
City and buy the DVD for $7.99. You won't be disappointed.
OK. Now, the start of the review. I just watched this film for the first time last night and I was truly blow-away. I expected just another generic thriller, but I was thankfully very wrong.
This film has everything working in it's favor and working together. The directing is very good. Each shot serves it's particular purpose and does not draw too much stylistic attention to itself. The script was very well-structured and develops each of the 3 main characters just enough before the film kicks into high gear. And when the action/thrills start, they don't stop. The film has an excellent pace and never drags on at any point like most films do in general.
One thing that deserves special attention is the use of sound and music. The beginning is literally a dead calm. Not much music at all, just ambient sounds that ratchet up the tension little by little. The cinematography is also very clean and colorful. Doesn't look dated at all, except for a few scenes in the very beginning of the movie. But once the story moves onto the boat(s), it looks like it was filmed yesterday.
One thing that I liked about this film is, like all great thrillers...just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. It gets much worse.
But of course this film has it's share of minor questionable actions, particularly by Sam Neill's character, who gets stranded on a sinking ship. Instead of wasting time trying to pump the water out of the room he's trapped inside, why not just break through the weak bottom like he ends up doing anyway? Oh well, I can forgive that. A character in a life and death situation like that probably won't be thinking as clearly as someone who is sitting in the comfortable safety of their living room, so it's easy to forget about.
I almost was going to complain about the "friday the 13th" ending (see: Fatal Attraction), but when I saw how the situation was dealt with, I instantly forgave them. Very shocking way of disposing of a character if I do say so myself.
I highly recommend this film for all thriller fans. This is one of the most suspenseful movies I have seen in a very long time. It's a shame that they don't make them like this any more.
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