Man at Sea: Berlin Review

Courtesty of Berlinale 2011
Contrived sea-set thrillerhas an impossible time staying afloat. 

With logic and exposition tossed overboard very early on, a more apt title for Constantinos Giannari’s latest feature would be 'Film at Sea.'

 

BERLIN – With logic and exposition tossed overboard very early on, a more apt title for Constantinos Giannari’s latest feature would be Film at Sea. Character motivation is too flimsy for audiences to root for the brooding heroes to the end of this hokey drama-thriller, which seriously dampens its international theatrical potential.

Man at Sea opens with a group of teenage and adolescent immigrants being rescued from the sea by Alex (Antonis Karystinos), the Greek captain of a tanker on its way from Athens to Shanghai. The refugees speak Farsi (and are…Afghani?) and most look like they’ve been plucked from a Benetton commercial. Also aboard the tanker is Alex’s wife Kate (Theodora Tzimou), whom he hasn’t seen since their son’s accidental drowning four years earlier.

Alex wants to deliver the refugees to the first human rights organization that will take them, but unfortunately none do. A truly preposterous moment comes when Alex tries to hand them over to a double-crossing old friend in Niger, who speaks like an evangelical Yoda, “the words in his mouth smooth as butter but with war in his heart.” What that savage “war” is about is apparently unworthy of an explanation.

The asylum seekers thus get stuck on the ship, which creates tension amongst them, the crew and between Alex and Kate. She is particularly drawn to 16-year-old Samir (Nikos Tsourakis), who looks like their dead son, but their closeness makes Alex insanely jealous.

Eventually both the youngsters and the crew threaten to mutiny, but by then most viewers will have already jumped ship.

Filmed aboard a real tanker with a Red Camera, Aggelos Viskadourakis’ photography is the technical highlight of Man at Sea.

Venue: Berlin Film Festival, Panorama Special
Production company: Highway Productions.
Cast: Antonis Karystinos, Theodora Tzimou, Nikos Tsourakis, Konstantinos Avarikiotis, Stathis Papadopoulos, Stathis Apostolou,Chalil Ali Zada, Matina Mavragani.
Director: Constantinos Giannari.
Screenwriter: Constantinos Giannari.
Producer: George Lykiardopoulo.
Director of photography: Aggelos Viskadourakis.
Production designer: George Georgio.
Music: Mario Grigorov.
Costume designer: Triada Papadak.
Editor: Ioanna Spiliopoulou.
No rating, 92 minutes.

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