Water way to go
Direction: Alister Grierson
Cast: Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield
He has directed such waterlogged survival sagas as The Abyss (1989) and Titanic (1997). Now, James Cameron marshals his mega-dollar resources to deliver yet another blockbuster aqua adventure.
This time around, Cameron serves as executive producer, handing over the reins to Australian helmer Alister Grierson (Kokoda). Based on the real-life experiences of a group of intrepid divers, Sanctum follows an antagonistic father and son (Roxburgh-Wakefield) on their research expedition to an unmapped underwater caves system in the South Pacific.
Accompanied by a cocky financier (Ioan Gruffudd) and handful of fellow explorers, they are trapped in a labyrinthine network of tunnels after a flash flood seals their exit. As they fight the elements and each other, it soon becomes a struggle to avoid a watery grave. While Grierson makes the most of the treacherous settings, subtlety is not among his strengths. The screenplay contains its fair share of clinkers including a last act reconciliation between the estranged father and son. The dialogue is consistently banal. The images are quite fabulous, especially in the IMAX 3D format.
The predominantly Australian cast is irksome though, fretting and fuming with little effect. Despite glitches, Sanctum is worth a deep cave plunge.