14 June 2005

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou


I watched this film unsure about what to expect. Groundhog Day is one of my all time top 5 films. It’s a masterpiece, a groundbreaking film, a work that manages to be at once simple and close, yet epic and deep.

When Lost in Translation came out I heard that it was Murray’s best film since Groundhog Day and was very excited to see it. I was pretty disappointed by that film.

But I digress. The Life Aquatic, for me, was much more enjoyable than Lost in Translation.

Bill Murray plays a washed-up old celebrity ocean explorer (Steve Zissou) with a massive fan base. The film opens in semi documentary style, showing him on a previous expedition where a close friend of his was killed by an enormous shark.

Then it cuts to the theatre where they are watching the film.

He plans a new adventure to go back and find, and possibly kill, the shark that killed his friend. His estranged wife (played by the ever-reliable Anjelica Huston) declines the opportunity to come with him, but a man claiming to be his son, named Ned, comes, as well as a pregnant news reporter (Cate Blanchett).

This is a truly unusual film. Its quite difficult to class it in one specific genre. One minute it is very funny, yet at the same time it has moments of high drama and tension, along with romance. It is realist yet surreal simultaneously. The ending is also fairly moving.

Jeff Goldblum also puts in an excellent cameo as the coast guard whose equipment they raid.

The part towards the end when, rejoined by his wife, Zissou descends into the ocean in his subterranean craft (which looks like something out of a Jules Verne novel) and they see the shark is pretty surreal too.

A lot of critics disliked this film, but I enjoyed it a lot more than both Lost in Translation and Wes Anderson’s previous slightly overrated (in my opinion) The Royal Tenenbaums.

If you like quirky films that mesh together different genres, this is well worth checking out. Finally Bill Murray is, of course, superb.

7.5/10


By Renegade Dog

1 Comments:

Blogger Wess said...

I saw this on the shelf at the Video rental place on the weekend and was wondering what it was like...Thanks for the review I think I'll rent it.

1:26 PM  

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