Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Tribeca 2023 Review: DEEP SEA (2023)

Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

Lately, there has been a lot of talk around the subject of animation in film and how it isn’t just some genre for kids and families. It’s an extremely versatile medium that can evoke emotions in a way a live-action film just can’t and can create something so visually stunning that simply looking at it can bring a tear to your eye. This beautiful film does just that, and so much more.

Deep Sea is a dramatic fantasy adventure story out of China, written and directed by Tian Xiaopeng, and follows a young girl named Shenxiu who just wants to find her mother. That’s her whole goal here. However, while out at sea during a raging storm, Shenxiu is washed overboard, and finds herself whisked away to a fantastical world of talking animals, underwater restaurants, and a chef with superpowers.

To say this movie is breathtaking to look at would be an understatement. It’s like a combination of anime, 3D animation, and ink painting. It’s a living, breathing, moving piece of art that jumps off the screen at times, and just aches to be looked at. And look at it you will as these stunning visuals keep your eyes locked. This, combined with an absolutely beautiful score, just makes Deep Sea a memorable experience for the senses.

But don’t let the incredible artwork and score overshadow what’s going on in this story. It’s a deep tale of depression and grief. To feel like you’re not wanted, especially by those you love, is a crushing feeling that can weigh you down in ways that you may not even realize. And if you’re a child dealing with this, it can be exponentially more difficult, especially if you have no one to help you through it. Shenxiu’s complete desperation to find her mother is what drives her throughout this story, but the reasons for it are what turn this tale on its head and help it to sink its emotional claws even further into your brain.

As a single father of a young daughter, watching Shenxiu struggle through everything she’s dealing with broke my heart. It is my one goal in life to make sure my little one knows she’s loved every single day of her life, and to see this young girl struggle just to be shown an ounce of love tore me up inside.

The story is a bit chaotic, particularly in the second act, and there were times when I found myself wondering what exactly I was watching. There’s so much happening, so many characters doing so many things, that the visuals can become a bit overwhelming at times. But that’s the beauty of this film. The world is full of chaos, but it’s how you cut through all the noise to follow the path you need to be on that really matters.

Overall, even with those chaotic moments, it’s the animation, the music, and the profoundly emotional ending that pull it all back together and makes Deep Sea a film that needs to be seen.


The Merc’s Score: 8/10


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