With a nice-sounding title and a pretty familiar cast, Dark Tide was supposed to be that sleek looking shark movie with an interesting story and characters. Directed by John Stockwell, it’s reminiscent of one of his better movies, Into the Blue, borrowing a lot of the elements from it and adding one crucial: sharks. However, here the characters seem forced and not nearly as charismatic as they were in the above-mentioned flick. And we’re talking about Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez, who actually hooked up on the set of this movie. Talk about a power couple. Maybe I’m setting the bar too high, after all, this is supposed to be a relatively easy-going thriller focused on sharks.
And that part they fucking nailed on the head, with possibly the best shark footage I have ever seen in a movie. Halle Berry worked with a “shark whisperer” for several weeks, preparing for her hole and actually did some of the interactions with sharks that can be seen here. They clearly worked hard on this aspect and this is the reason why I really liked this movie, despite all its flaws. Granted, this melodramatic back and forth is present only in the first half of the movie, with the rest of it working pretty well. So you have to be a bit patient to get the payoff and if you’re a “shark-movie enthusiast” this will be so worth it.
Kate Mathieson, marine biologist and open-sea diver had it all: a job she loved, a great husband and the privilege to be diving in the beautiful waters around Cape Town. Now, several years later, she finds herself in quite the pickle. After an accident during one of the dives that cost a member of her crew his life, Kate is still haunted by the memory of the event and is having trouble making enough money without having anything to do with sharks. However, when a wealthy Englishman shows up with an indecent proposal, she will have to make a difficult decision.
As I already mentioned, underwater scenes look spectacular and really humbling, like something from a nature documentary but still with a healthy dose of structure. Framing and cinematography, in general, were top-notch, blowing away more famous movies like Deep Blue Sea and others. Dark Tide offers a different perspective from other shark movies and is without that over-the-top vibe that film-makers usually go for. Everything feels natural and unlike the dialogues, very engaging. You can see what they were going for with the characters but clumsy execution stifled those efforts. Once the wealthy Englishman appears with his son, the dynamic changes and we finally start to “get” what they were trying to say.
This is in contrast with Halle in her bright bikini, with almost irritating focus on her body. Granted, it’s hard to be angry about this, but I have to admit it feels kind of cheap, especially considering they were so careful with the whole shark angle. So, if you’re a shark movies fan, you should definitely check out Dark Tide, if for nothing else than for amazing cinematography and shark footage and if you’re not that into sharks but still are having trouble finding something decent to watch, perhaps this would be good choice since you can always trash the story and characters.
Director: John Stockwell
Writers: Ronnie Christensen, Amy Sorlie
Cast: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Mark Elderkin, Ralph Brown, Luke Tyler, Sizwe Msutu, Thoko Ntshinga