Breaking Surface, Joachim Heden, Moa Gammel (Thriller Movie Review)

Breaking Surface, Joachim Heden, Moa Gammel (Thriller Movie Review)
6 10

PLOT: A woman struggles to save her sister, who has been trapped underwater by a rockslide in the icy waters of Norway.

REVIEW: Writer/director Joachim Heden pulled off something impressive with his survival thriller Breaking Surface (watch it HERE), managing to keep me invested in seeing the full story play out even though the characters aren't particularly likeable and the lead makes one dumb, frustrating decision after the other. This is the sort of movie where the viewer will be imagining what they would do if they were stuck in this situation themselves, and chances are they'll imagine themselves handling it much better than Ida (Moa Gammel Ginsburg) does.

However, it was kind of difficult to imagine myself in this situation, because Ida and her sister Tuva (Madeleine Martin) run into trouble while doing something I would never do - going scuba diving in icy waters while snow falls above them. That sounds very unpleasant to me, but it's something Ida and Tuva have decided to do while visiting their mother in Norway. It seems like a bad idea from the start, and sure enough their dive turns into a disaster when there's a rockslide on the mountain they're diving beside. Not only do their supplies on shore get buried in rocks, but Tuva also gets hit by a large rock that drags her to the bottom of the water - thirty-three meters down - and traps her there. Now Ida has to figure out how to save her sister before her oxygen runs out, and she has to overcome all sorts of hurdles in her effort to do so, some of them caused by her own dimwittedness.

Breaking Surface Madeleine Martin Joachim Heden

Ida is never all that likeable to begin with, and becomes less likeable as the film goes on and we see what kind of nonsense she brings to the screen due to desperation and stupidity. Tuva, on the other hand, starts out looking like she's going to be pretty cool, being introduced in a well-shot diving sequence where she's nearly killed in the engine of a large ship she's working around. She then storms the bridge of the ship, ready to kick the ass of whoever was responsible for that almost-fatal accident. Then she lost me early on when it's revealed that she feeds her cigarette butts to her mom's dog so her mom won't find out she smokes. Like there's no better way to dispose of them.

Breaking Surface isn't a good movie for dogs in general, because Ida and Tuva decide to take that cigarette-eating dog with them when they go diving, leaving him to sit on the shore and get snowed on while they're in the water. Ida crosses paths with another dog later on, and that scene is just terrible. If you're a dog lover, this is going to leave you with some bad feelings, and you might just start rooting against Ida and Tuva. I have to say, I didn't care very much if they were going to live or die by the end of the movie, but I was still interested in seeing how it was going to go.

Breaking Surface Joachim Heden Moa Gammel Ginsburg

Ida is annoying, but Gammel Ginsburg handles the emotion of the role well, and Heden gives the character plenty of problems to deal with. Best of all, the movie has a running time of just 78 minutes, so it tells the story at a quick pace and doesn't ask you to spend too much of your time on it. It's here to deliver some thrills and probably make you yell some expletives at the screen, and then it lets you get on with your day. I enjoyed watching the movie, and even though I was left thinking I might have enjoyed it more if the characters were smarter and treated dogs better, it still works despite their failings.

Breaking Surface is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on February 16th, courtesy of Doppelganger Releasing.

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