The Last Tycoon
Kidman and Vanessa Walton in Bangkok Hilton (not
very good quality)
in Dead Calm (1080hd)
Dead Calm is now famous as the first movie in whicgh Billy
Zane went down in a sinking ship. In Dead Calm, Zane's
schooner is sinking. In Cleopatra, he and his flagship are
sunk in a famous naval battle. In Three, he plays a rich
yachtsman who sinks. And I think we all know the general
plot of Titanic.
The plot of Dead Calm:
Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman are sailing the Pacific, trying to heal after the death of their toddler. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, they come upon a sinking schooner and the aforementioned Zane. Turns out Zane is a psychotic who turned the sinking ship into a bloodbath. Zane kidnaps Kidman in the good boat while Neill is checking out Zane's craft. Oops! Neill, an expert sailor, has no choice but to pursue them in a sinking ship full of dead bodies.
There you have it. The execution is just OK, and the story has many flaws. Examples:
(1) The film goes on five minutes too long by creating one of those "surprise ending after the ending" moments. When Kidman finally got the upper hand, she left Zane floating in the ocean on a little raft. Hours later, Neill and Kidman returned, because they felt guilty about abandoning a human being in such a manner. They found the free-floating raft in the open sea (hey, the Pacific is a small ocean), but Zane was no longer on it. The figured that life must go on, so they sank the raft and sailed off. That probably should have been the end of the movie, but the scriptwriter just couldn't resist a final switcheroo. The next morning at breakfast, Zane somehow appears on the ship, and no explanation is offered. Apparently he is immortal, like that Friday the 13th guy.
(2) There is absolutely no reason for the first 10-15 minutes of the film, which shows Neill arriving somewhere by train, not being met by an expected Kidman. It then shows her in the hospital, and flashes back to an accident in which Kidman is injured and her toddler killed. This setup was merely back story, and could have been covered with a brief flashback or even, in a truly economical mode, about one line of dialogue.
Take out the beginning and ending, and the rest of the movie is pretty good. Everything in the plot is pretty much what you expect, but it does have a good cast, taut direction, good sailing scenes, and a powerful, atmospheric use of silence, music, and sea noises in the proper proportions to lend drama to the scenes.