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How Deep is the Ocean

From Australian director and writer Andrew Walsh, comes the film How Deep is the Ocean; a two-fold chronicle about a young girl called Eleanor with a sordid past, and how she navigates the many degenerate men she meets whilst trying to live a simple, normal life. How Deep is the Ocean has a lot of promise but fails to deliver as it makes safe choices and is badly shot.


How Deep is the Ocean takes place across one year as our drifter meets one stereotypical man after another and shows the female perspective on how we navigate and work our lives around these men for sanity and safety.


Elanor takes up a room in a boarding house in Melbourne, Australia, and has a drunk roommate called Roy (Cris Cochrane) who has many regrets and failings in life. He’s less than respectful and we quickly learn that Elanor’s character quickly accepts her fate and place in this life. Her character is meek and shy, and I was hoping for a transformation, for Elanor to take a journey and make something more of her life.

The film opens like a poorly shot university project and I was not enthralled or remotely interested - more repelled. This is the type of film you’d make for your show reel and then regret later. Far too many wide shots and insufficient lighting and sound. A lot of the time the awkward positioning of the actors makes the conversation and script not believable, and hard to engage with. I could predict the next shot, wide with two actors standing 3 feet apart and having a dull, meaningless conversation. However, there are some nice shots of the beach, and thoughtful moments where Elanor is alone by the sea.

Saying that there are times when the acting is to a decent standard, but then there are many sections where the male characters Elanor meets are overplayed. There is a scene where she is attacked and robbed, and this was very messy from both the choreography and the camera style, so it had little impact. One of the supporting actors also looks directly into the camera, which is just off-putting.

How Deep is the Ocean

Elanor’s character development is weaker than I expected - especially for the short runtime, she needed a big arc and change to have a hard-hitting impact on the audience. Perhaps the aim was to be arty-mundane (if that’s even a thing) which then I suppose they’ve succeeded at.

I’m sure the point of the film is to show the various types of men Australia has to offer, and how women can act and feel around them, however, the meaning behind the story is truly lost through the bland dialogue and lack of direction. Maybe the point is to also show how turbulent life can be in your twenties, from seeking employment, finding yourself, and testing relationships.

Towards the end, there is a scene that is the most beautiful and compelling piece of the film. As Elanor submerges herself into the sea, we’re wondering if this is the end for her. Elanor rises from the water, almost as if being reborn or baptised. It’s a nice message of hope and new beginnings.

Overall, How Deep is the Ocean is slow, going nowhere, and does not do well in keeping you invested as a viewer. It offers nothing in terms of character development or shooting style. Its saving grace is the focus on male stereotypes, which is intriguing however leads to nothing.


Rating How Deep is the Ocean


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