Kristen Stewart has clearly proven to me (as if she has anything she needs to prove to anybody at this point) that she can do just about anything. Last year she made my top actresses of the year in two movies that weren’t really even very good, but her performance raised them up to worth seeing. That’s pretty much the same thing I would say about ‘Underwater’.
Made about three years ago and left to sit on a shelf, ‘Underwater’ is clearly trying to be ‘Alien’ under the sea. And a lot of it actually works very well. The big problem is that it only feels like 2/3 of a movie and the movie begins in the second act. Unless you consider Kristen Stewart brushing her teeth in a sports bra a sufficient first act. Yet, that’s about all the first act is. She stands around. Then the shit hits the fan.
After that we meet a few characters played by John Gallagher Jr., TJ Miller, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, and Mamoudou Athie. Yet, the most we ever know about these characters is that they work on the bottom of the ocean, two of them are in a relationship, one has a daughter, one has a dog, one is an engineer, one is a Captain, one used to be in a relationship, and that’s about it. Which means each character gets like one character trait, and to make matters worse, those traits mostly trickle out after much of the danger has taken place.
Now, it’s entirely possible to make a movie that is devoid of character development and have it been phenomenal, but it has to truly be either a technical masterpiece or it must feel lived in. In other words, the characters need to be slowly peeling away the dimensions of each other as the narrative progresses. ‘1917’ does that exact thing and is the movie you should be going to see this weekend! ‘Underwater’ tries to go for the technical part, but it’s a horror movie and there is little sense of danger because you don’t know anybody. So, it’s hard to care what happens to people that you don’t really care about.
This is ultimately the downfall of ‘Underwater’. It’s an exciting vehicle to show audiences that Kristen Stewart could be the next action star, but yet another movie that’s not good enough to deserve her talents. I’m just hoping that some of the major players around tinseltown star realizing just how versatile this actress is, because it’s just depressing to watch such talent wasting on all these sub par films.
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