Deep Water

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Posted October 1, 2007 in Film

Donald Crowhurst was close to being the ideal British man: he had pluck, brains, invention, and charm. The two things he didn’t have were money and acclaim, so in 1968, he hocked everything he owned and along with eight other (wealthier) sailors entered the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race–a competition to be the first person to sail around the globe solo and non-stop. The estimated nine-month voyage was dangerous enough, especially given the sea madness that comes when it’s just you and an impossible stretch of sky. Only Crowhurst’s trek was cursed and his ship began to fall apart before it even left the harbor. By the end of his first month at sea, Crowhurst was caught between his own Scylla and Charybdis: Turn back and lose his house, his dignity, and the respect of his family and the nation, or push ahead and drown. What he did next is the tragic driving force behind Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell’s haunting documentary. Like Grizzly Man, it accesses Crowhurst’s journals to piece together the motivations behind a man who reached for the impossible as surviving friends and family members struggle with guilt and ask if they should have done more to prevent his misery. But dreams don’t fall sway to caution–and as Werner Herzog would morbidly point out, neither does nature. Especially when it’s just one, small, ordinary man against an unyielding ocean. (Amy Nicholson)


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