Against the Sun
Direction: Brian Falk
Actors: Garret Dillahunt, Tom Felton
Another survival-at-sea saga along the lines of Life of Pi, All is Lost (the Robert Redford-starrer, as yet unreleased here) and the more recent Unbroken, this true-life story recounts the 34-day ocean odyssey of three US Navy airmen after their plane crashed into the Pacific during the Second World War.
A former documentarian making his feature debut, director Brian Falk zeroes in on the three protagonists as they struggle to overcome the forces of nature.
Adrift in a cramped life raft without any food or water, they must summon all their courage and make snap decisions if they are to survive.
Intermittently suspenseful, the film alternates between semiclose-ups of the men within the confines of the raft and extreme long-shots of the oar-less vessel bobbing about on the expanse of the becalmed sea.
Besides dealing with personal dilemmas — the pilot (Dillahunt) dropped off during a sortie, precipitating the emergency water landing — the downed men have to contend with potential shark attacks and a raging storm that upends the raft.
There are stray light-hearted moments, such as the pretend cups of coffee the crew shares every morning or the fantasies involving the beautiful sister of the bombardier (Felton, the British actor best known for his role as Harry Potter’s snotty rival).
On the downside, the screenplay settles into a kind of monotony, what with the occasional flashbacks to the cockpit of the doomed flight and the predictable downpour soon after the prayers for rain.
Essentially a testament to man’s indomitable spirit, Against the Sun is recommended, but only for want of a more compelling alternative this weekend.