read it in the Sunday papers

Deep Water [1] is a docu-drama about The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race run in 1968. The race started one year after the first person had successfully circumnavigated the world with only one-stop in Sydney, Australia.

Fortunately, I only read a little on Wikipedia prior to seeing the film. Otherwise, I may not have been gripped by the tension built up in the documentary. The reason I sought information about the film, is that I wanted to determine that it wasn’t going to be a yatchys’ drama of all things gone wrong with the boat, and hence why they retired from or did not win the race.

When I initially searched for information on the film I ended up quickly scanning the Wikipedia page on Donald Crowhurst [2]. Without taking in much detail, I was satisfied that the film was more about the achievement, tragedy, and psychology of the entrants.

It is difficult to review the film or provide a synopsis without providing spoilers, particularly if you don’t know about the race at all. But I think there is more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and to keep you pondering the film for a few days after viewing.

Nine entrants set out in the race [3] to be the first for the Golden Globe trophy and £5,000 cash for the fastest. Only one finishes. The film is mainly about two of the entrants, Donald Crowhurst and Bernard Moitessier. The film is a documentary consisting of original material from the entrants in the form of logs, newspaper articles, audio, stills and video, and interviews with the entrant that finished, family, and others. Very little is recreated for the film, which if it was not a true story could have been described as a psychological thriller or adventure.

The construct of the film was to compare the inexperienced weekend sailor in Donald Crowhurst with that of the weathered and salty philosophy of Bernard Moitessier. The film was advertised as 92 minutes, and having seen many films over two hours at the Perth International Arts Festival, I think I would have liked to see more about the other entrants in the race. Other than that, I think it is a film worth seeing.

[1] Deep Water, official movie site includes production notes and trailer
[2] Donald Crowhurst , Wikipedia
[3] The Golden Globe Race, Boats.com

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