Kristen Stewart Floats Above the Deep-Sea Dumbness of Underwater


You shouldn’t drill for oil seven miles beneath the ocean flooring, and also you most likely shouldn’t put Kristen Stewart down there, both: She’s too explosive, too gorgeously stressed; her mildest eyelash blink may set off an earthquake. Possibly that’s what occurs at first of Underwater, a mindlessly entertaining creature characteristic directed by William Eubank (whose credit embrace the 2014 sci-fi thriller The Sign). A sudden and violent disruption of the ocean flooring—ostensibly brought on by all that that grasping drilling, although we nonetheless shouldn’t rule out a blink from Stewart—destroys parts of a nest of drilling services situated far beneath the ocean’s floor. Stewart’s Norah, a mechanical engineer with an icy-blond buzz minimize, wanting lithe and wiry in her sleepwear-underwear combo, is about to brush her tooth when it occurs.

It’s early morning, possibly, not that there’s any actual evening and day when the sky is so far-off. Norah ponders that existential actuality in a throaty, just-out-of-bed voiceover, as she pads barefoot round a metallic, generic-looking pod-room. This far down, she tells us, there’s “only awake and dreaming.” Whichever state she’s in, she’s jolted out of it when the ocean begins crashing in round her. Chased by speeding waves, she runs down an extended, winding hall that appears to be held collectively by creaking and groaning nuts and bolts; as a result of her ft are naked, she slips and slides perilously, a type of interpretive dance of millennial ennui.

That is one of the best, most enjoyable and most poetic a part of Underwater, the one part the place the movie reaches towards artistry as a substitute of simply settling for commerce. The remainder of this shameless Alien ripoff is sort of all commerce—however at the very least there’s Stewart. The accident has killed a lot of the facility’s crew, however Norah locates a handful of survivors, amongst them Rodrigo (performed by the charming Mamoudou Athie) and the ship’s captain (the stalwart Vincent Cassel). They determine to placed on fancy however unwieldy underwater fits and stroll to security. Sure, it’s potential! Possibly.

In the meantime, it seems that all that nasty deep-sea drilling has woke up a throng of ewky undersea whatsits. A small, slimy child model is discovered feeding off a crew member’s corpse. An annoyingly high-strung lady who’s, presumably, a marine biologist (she’s performed by Jessica Henwich) pokes it at together with her naked fingers. Who would do that? Solely an individual who has by no means seen Alien. What, was this lady born yesterday?

Nonetheless, Eubank does a reasonably good job of constructing gentle dread and stoking emotions of claustrophobia. A few of the visuals are fairly pretty: Because the ragtag band of survivors trudge ahead of their cumbersome sea-suits, their faces are lit by the glowing inexperienced rims of their helmets—they’re like lunar orphans misplaced on their technique to a rave. The dialogue is dumb and fundamental, however Stewart manages to show at the very least a few of it into informal poetry. Norah, like nearly anyone who’d be prone to volunteer for a treacherous deep-sea drilling expedition, is haunted by a misplaced love. At one level she delivers a haiku-style manifesto on the character of affection and loss, a jumble of nouns with maybe not sufficient verbs to attach them. But it surely’s all OK. You get the gist of what she’s saying although it’s only a bouquet of ellipses. Norah’s world, just like the ocean flooring beneath her, has already cracked aside. It harm for some time, however now she’s cool with it. Offended, viscous predators from the deep? Who cares? Who wants them? As Stewart performs it, Norah’s charismatic, deadpan insouciance feeds her bravery. And it’s simply the factor that may get you via Underwater, too.

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