Into the Blue

(John Stockwell, USA, 2005)


When Larry Clark or Bernardo Bertolucci film nubile young women from intimate angles, they are castigated as salacious, dirty old peeping Toms. John Stockwell, the director of Into the Blue, uses a safer technique. Any close, lingering shot of the buttocks and breasts of Jessica Alba or Ashley Scott is seemingly justified – that is, if they are also wearing a snorkel and pretending to stare intently at a sea creature as they wriggle around seductively under the water.

Samantha (Alba) and Jared (Paul Walker) are a poor but happy couple. Their rotting boat and lack of income seem scarcely to bother them – in fact, their entire relationship seems to consist of sharing kisses in swimwear. But when Jared's best mate, Bryce (Scott Caan), shows up with Amanda (Scott), a trashy girl he picked up the night before, get-rich-quick schemes involving drugs and ancient treasure deep below the waterline beckon.

Into the Blue is a comprehensively dopey movie. Samantha, the voice of moral reason, keeps reminding Jared that they already "have it all" – but the film itself cannot so easily give up the lure of affluent amorality. The sharks that constantly swim by offer a handy way to sort out the plot: they only ever seem to take a chunk out of heavily ethnic villains and the kind of girl that Samantha charmingly describes as "crack whores".

Ex-teen actor Stockwell, who made the excellent telemovie Cheaters (2000), has painted himself into a corner (albeit a lucrative one) with the slick, formulaic Crazy/Beautiful (2001) and Blue Crush (2002).

He now seems condemned to filming good-looking, scantily clad kids surfing, diving or making out, to an MTV-approved beat, in the midst of flimsy action plots.

© Adrian Martin October 2005

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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