Ocean (2020)

Rating: E

Dir: Steve Moon, Joseph Walker
Star: Karis Lamb, Casey Holliman, Corey Winston, Hassel Kromer

This begins with two women, Lori (Lamb) and Cindy (Holliman), on a boat in the middle of the ocean. They are apparently marooned: “We aren’t going to make it, are we?” says Cindy. However, the film then makes a fatal mistake. Instead of moving forward from this dramatic moment… we then take a long, meandering trip back, to Lori sobbing uncontrollably as her boyfriend breaks up with her. Cindy comes round to comfort her, and the two decide that a weekend getaway is just what they need. Cue footage of them driving and chatting, hanging out on the beach and chatting, or sitting in a bar… yes, and chatting. At points, it is a very chatty movie.

You may be wondering, what about the fact they are stuck on what seems to be a fishing charter boat? Yeah, in between rounds of chat, we occasionally we get to see them there, though little information of use is imparted, beyond the fact that “they” – whoever that might be – left the two women with food. It appears by this time that even Lori and Cindy have run out of conversational topics, and at least these sections largely unfold in silence, save for the gentle lapping of water, and a New Age-y score. This is very much as soporific as it sounds, and neither watching them standing around, nor the extended flashbacks, are interesting.

It takes the film 60 minutes – and it runs barely 79, end to end – before we get back to the moment we first saw. At one point, three-quarters of an hour in, I almost got excited as Cindy and Lori spoke to a boat charter guy!!! Then they went away again. Such a tease. Turns out they got… um, ship-faced and, I guess, went out on a boat with some guys? It’s not clear, and nor is what happened to everyone else aboard. Consequently, there is absolutely no dramatic tension here. The women make no detectable effort to be rescued, or even catch fish, and it’s not as if the ship is sinking or something. They just sit around (top), delivering desultory lines like “What do you think is worse? Drowning? Starving? Getting eaten by a shark?”

Personally, I feel any of those fates would be preferable to having to sit through this again. Indeed, Lori gradually sinks into something bordering on a catatonic trance – something for which I could certainly feel sympathy. A rubber dinghy ex machina conveniently floats past, and they decide to abandon their large, sturdy vessel and climb in. But what do I know? For just as I was snorting derisively, three minutes later, it has drifted them back to shore, and the end credits roll. I got nothing. This has to be the most badly-scripted nonsense I’ve seen in a long time, and only the fact that the photography is decent, likely saved it from a dreaded and rare “F” grade.