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Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean (II) (2008)
"Solo" (original title)

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Andrew McAuley attempted what many believed was impossible - a solo kayak expedition across the world's most treacherous ocean.


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Title: Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean (2008)

Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean (2008) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Andrew McAuley ...


On January 11, 2007, Andrew McAuley set out on his quest to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand across one of the wildest and loneliest stretches of ocean on Earth. On February 9, New Zealand maritime authorities received his distress call. Having survived a harrowing and torturous month at sea, conquering monstrous swells and terrifying storms, McAuley lost his life only a day from completing his journey. His body was never recovered, but the camera tapes from his kayak were and they form the basis of this moving and questioning portrait of a complex man, his family, his supporters and his attempt to conquer the ferocious Tasman Sea. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

8 November 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean  »

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Good subject but it doesn't ever goes deep enough.
2 August 2012 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The one reason why this documentary works out is because of its fascinating and original subject. It however feels like its only being a retelling and a look back at events but it doesn't quite ever answers the why and hows.

So the documentary opens with telling you that its main subject had died, during an attempt to cross the Tasman sea in nothing more but a small kayak. Was this a good and smart thing for the documentary? Well, it of course takes away most of the tension already but it opens plenty of other doors for the documentary to handle and for its interviewees to talk about, so it's not something that I'm holding against this documentary, though I can certainly imaging some people already being turned off by this.

The one thing I was a bit bummed out about was the fact that the movie told you its main subject did not survived but the videotapes that filmed his journey did. However as it turns out by the end, the video tapes of the last couple of days were destroyed by the salty sea water, so we actually don't get to see what happened to Andrew McAuley and how come he suddenly drowned after traveling for 3 weeks straight and having survived a big storm already. New Zealand was literally in his sight but we now will never know what happened to him. So it in fact feels a bit pointless for the movie to show some of the earlier tapes but not show the climax, so to speak, in a not very respectful way but it just feels a bit like an anticlimax.

So it doesn't gives you the why and how but it also doesn't ever explain the why's as to why McAuley wanted to attempt this journey in the first, while he had a young son and a loving wife and an earlier attempted already stranded after 1 day of peddling. It was an extremely dangerous journey and many people thought it was impossible for him to survive under these treacherous conditions. He himself also was very well aware of this and he himself doesn't even seem to know why he's doing it and is openly doubtful about the outcome. The documentary doesn't ever answer for him, or makes it clear as to why he would even consider attempting such a thing.

However if you look at it as simply an adventurous quest of endurance, persistence and courage, the story still works out well and fascinating enough. It switches back and forth between the found footage of McAuley's endeavor and his family, friends and supporters at the time and afterward, looking back at all, long after they learned about his faith. It does definitely has its moments but I wouldn't exactly call or consider this documentary to be a particularly well made or good looking one. It all feels pretty formulaic and it just doesn't ever delves too deep into things, probably because it had too much respect for its main subject; McAuley and his journey.

It definitely remains good and interesting enough to watch but it's nothing to run out for.


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