RLJ Entertainment // 2001 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 14th, 2013
(In my best Brian Blessed voice): "Dive!!!"
Two men, seeking to one-up each other in the insane sport of free-diving, get forty minutes worth of profiling in this 2001 documentary, unearthed and re-issued in lavish high-definition.
Originally shown in IMAX, Ocean Men: Extreme Dive employs the sweeping, gorgeous cinematography we've all come to expect from these massive productions. But the subject matter is personal and intimate. It's just two dudes. Two crazy dudes, but a pair of personalities nonetheless: Pipin Ferraras and Umberto Pelizzari, friends at first, the most bitter of rivals later, constantly trying to outdo each other.
Why are they crazy? While I can appreciate their discipline, ambition and mental and physical fortitude, the pursuits they've committed to are straight-up suicidal. Their free-diving exploits are constantly boundary-pushing, with each man trying to break records. These records happen to involve a human being submerging himself under hundreds of meters of water.
Ferraras is after the world record, dropping himself over 500 feet underwater using any apparatus necessary to get him down and back up. His only limit: he has to do it all with one lungful of air. Pelizzari operates on the other end of the spectrum. Oh, he's still trying to sink like a stone like his pal, but this guy is a purist; no apparatus, no weights, nothing mechanical. It's just him and his wetsuit and his lungs and he's trying to break the world record of unaided free diving.
It's a cool juxtaposition and the filmmakers squeeze a nice amount of human drama out of it. Of course, the film ends with the two dives. And, of course, the cinematography is fantastic. Overall: cool little documentary, even if these guys are straight-up lunatics.
Not guilty. Glub glub.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: RLJ Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (French)
Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated