Deep But Shallow

Jacqueline Bisset and Nick Nolte in The Deep (1977)

Amateur treasure hunters Gail (Jacqueline Bisset) and David (Nick Nolte) find themselves unknowing exploring an off limits wreck from WWII and bringing back a few artefacts including a much older Spanish medallion and ampoule of morphine. Their discoveries come to the attention of local drug lord Henri Cloche (Louis Gossett Jr.) who wants the ampoule of morphine as well as the rest of the morphine from the sunken ship. But David and Gail pay renowned diver Romer Treece (Robert Shaw) a visit who is very interested in finding the rest of the treasure and cuts a deal with Cloche to buy them time whilst they dive. But with everyone having their own motives and agendas can Gail and David trust anyone.

"The Deep" was adapted from a book written by Peter Benchley and for those who know their books and movies will know that Benchley was also the author of "Jaws". Unfortunately whilst both "Jaws" and "The Deep" are products of the 70s "The Deep" lacks the same level of excitement and tension which filled "Jaws". And that sadly means at 123 minutes, which I might add is the edited version, "The Deep" struggles to really keep your attention. Yes there is danger when diving, there is also danger from a drug lord putting some voodoo pressure on people but it doesn't really get you gripped.

The thing is that yes visually "The Deep" is impressive with plenty of under water camera work with good editing so that the cuts disguise when we go from actor to stunt double. And for that reason I am pretty sure that this movie entertains those with an interest in diving but it offers up not a great deal else. Okay so there is one other thing, there is the opening scene featuring Jacqueline Bisset diving in just bikini bottoms and a t-shirt which of course clings to her in such a way that she might as just as well have been topless.

What this all boils down to is that "The Deep" whilst grabbing your attention with the opening scenes then really struggles to deliver the thrills it suggests it contains. In the end I would imagine "The Deep" is enjoyable for those who enjoy the sport of diving as well as scavenging around sunken vessels but it struggles for everyone else.

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