Breaking Surface (2020)

Breaking Surface
Director: Joachim Hedén
Writer: Joachim Hedén
Cast: Moa Gammel, Madeleine Martin, Trine Wiggen
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 18.9.2020

Ida (Moa Gammel) and Tuva (Madeleine Martin) are getting ready to go diving together with ther mother Anne (Trine Wiggen). Unfortunately, Anne becomes ill and can’t dive, so the two sisters set out on their own to the place they chose for their winter dive. Things are going well until Tuva is trapped on the ocean floor by falling rocks and Ida has to make sure that she gets out before her air runs out.

Breaking Surface is a tense thriller that feels very realistic. I watched the film breathlessly (no pun intended) and now I’ll probably never go diving ever.

The film poster showing close-ups of Tuva (Madeleine Martin) and Ida (Moa Gammel) as well as the two in diving suits underwater.

I have been diving exactly once in my life, in a tourist outing that was pretty much underwhelming. I mention this just to say that when I say that the film is realistic, I say this from a layperson’s perspective. For me, everything that happens was plausible, even though there were a couple of moments that had MacGyver energy (honestly, that’s not a drawback at all, if you ask me).

So, to a layperson the science and the mechanics check out, which is awesome. But more importantly, the film and the performances of Gammel and Martin quickly establish Tuva and Ida as interesting characters with a very complex relationship (they are sisters, it’s bound to be complex) and I just cared about them and for them. I wanted to see them succeed. And that is even more important than plausible physics.

Two divers underwater in darkness, having only flashlights.

I did have a little issue with the two dogs in the film who may have it even worse than Tuva and Ida, if you ask me. But that’s just a small thing in an otherwise excellent thriller that had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Pretty much the definition of a nailbiter of a film. That you should probably only watch if you’re not a fan of diving, or risk never doing it again.

Ida (Moa Gammel) and Tuva (Madeleine Martin) getting ready to dive.

Summarizing: tense.

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