Freddy Beans here with a review of a movie not to be missed, simply titled THE BOAT.
This one opens under the hull of a boat in the bluest waters your mind could imagine. This movie is absolutely captivating and beautiful. Every scene grabs you and reels you in as if the camera is a lure and we just can’t resist that glistening metal. Even the harrowing shots are intense and are largely formed, through masterful, beautiful camera work. Marek Traskowski is a man to look out for behind the camera. His cinematography is like nothing I’ve seen before, hauntingly beautiful comes to mind.
The storyline is simple enough, at first. The star of the film (Joe Azzopardi) is a sailor with no name who heads out of his hometown in Malta to the deep blue sea. A fog rolls in and ‘poof’ there’s an unmoored, much larger, more expensive sailboat that crystalizes through the haze. Our hero, aptly named “The sailor” does the right thing and boards the ship to see if anyone needs help. He ventures below deck and curiously there’s an abundance of fresh food and other signs of recent use. Where did the owner’s go? Why did they leave behind such a ready bounty? What are these red finger streaked stains in the medicine cabinet?
It’s rare a movie succeeds with one actor hauling the story along. THE BOAT is top of the list in that field. Joe Azzopardi as the ‘sailor’ uses his intelligence to escape each obstacle that accumulates before him. He never mutters to himself or talks to the audience to fill them in on his thought process. In fact, the only words we hear him utter throughout the entire film are both SOS radio messages. The first after he initially boards the sailboat. Here it is done calmly and later a much more desperate call for help after circumstance has beaten him bloody.
The mystery of THE BOAT is how this guy’s bad luck becomes something more ominous over time. Is there another guest on the boat? Is the boat haunted? There are clues this isn’t a first-time occurrence for the boat either. Lending the audience to surmise someone has been in this ordeal before our John Doe sailor.
The director, Winston Azzopardi, does an absolutely masterful job introducing us to the sailor. Lulling us into a naive complacency before that fog rolls in. Once it does though, this movie takes a much darker tone. There’s no movie I wouldn’t watch of Winston’s moving forward, this movie is handled so well. The concept should not work as well as it does. We’re talking about a movie that has no gore, one actor, and is stuck on a boat stranded at sea. There’s no villain, everything is implied. Yet, once our sailor decided to get off the unsafe boat, he realizes there are terrors much worse than being stuck aboard a boat at sea.
Joe Azzopardi co-wrote THE BOAT with his father Winston. This is a father and son duo to look out for!
Lachlan Anderson produced the score and I love his soft rhythms that seem to dance and weave to the ocean’s motion. The score enhancing the urgency at play on the screen with every dire moment. We are stuck on this anchor-less boat with Joe and feel the quiet desperation of each situation he’s put through.
I can’t recommend this movie enough regardless what genre fan you are. THE BOAT is a simple tale told exquisitely and with a confidence that something to behold.
It plays with all types of themes from other movies: THE FOG, CHRISTINE, DUEL, ALL IS LOST, CASTAWAY, and DEAD CALM come to mind. Yet, this baby is all its own. It’s even left open for a sequel but this thing was perfection and I hope he doesn’t go that route. Merely toying with our emotions at the end there, with his “through the looking rocks” reveal.
Every one of you needs to seek out the shelter of THE BOAT as soon as you can!
9.5 out of 10 sailors get their asses kicked after eating spinach.
Til next time, Kids!
- Freddy Beans