"Styx" depicts the transformation of a strong woman torn from her contented world during a sailing trip. When she becomes the only person to come to the aid of a group of refugees shipwrecked on the high seas, she is shown the limits of her importance and of the empathy of her cultural milieu. She is left slipping impotently from one nightmare to the next, and by the end she is forced to recognize that there is no way to counter the cruelties of real life. Only chance can save her.Written by
A luxury car crashes in Cologne. Rike, a middle-aged doctor, takes care of the injured with a calmness, sophistication and detachment that belies the chaotic scene. She displays the same characteristics in beginning a solitary boat trip from Gibraltar to distant Ascension Island. Alone on the ocean swells with the sound of the wind and waves, Rike dreams of reaching the wild untouched nature that Darwin spoke of in "the Creation of Paradise." Passing through a fierce storm for which she is well prepared, this clever and independent woman encounters something else that she is not ready for. This real-world problem will shake Rike to her core. She straddles the border to the underworld on the River Styx.
Rike deals with issues that are currently great troubles in the world; immigration and the divide between rich and poor, but also something inside herself and her oath as a doctor. There is little dialogue to Styx. Instead there is sumptuous photography including panoramic shots above the ocean, and the ambient sounds of wind and waves. The film is well made and acted. The lack of dialogue is the strength of the film, but also its weakness.
I liked the first half of the film better than the last half. I think this is because I was looking forward to learning about the wild nature of Ascension Island and the "paradise" that Darwin found. But Rike never gets there. Indeed, the world will never get to this paradise if we don't learn to help each other, heal the environment that sustains us, and that we are all as Black Elk maintained "hoops within other hoops."
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