Auteur Overboard

French blockbuster maker Luc Besson delivers his non-awaited director's cut of The Big Blue

Despite its numerous nods to the American marketplace--starting with the casting of the American-accented Barr, rather than Reno, in the lead--The Big Blue feels more Esperanto than American or French. It's torn between enthralling deep-sea visuals and a screenplay that stops the thrills cold, not to mention the demands of balancing heterosexual romance, male bonding, and a hero with stronger ties to nature than people. The resulting mishmash left me completely cold, but the vast European audience that saw the film on its original release--as well as the American cult it has since attracted on video--would certainly disagree. (As testament to the devotion that The Big Blue has inspired in some quarters, Samuel Goldwyn Films' press kit ends with three pages of fan-gushing drawn from the Internet Movie Database.)

Alas, one person's mush is another's gourmet meal, and indeed the passions excited by The Big Blue may owe to the movie's transnational cooking style--or maybe just its generous portions of corn and syrup. At best, it might be a great deal more idiosyncratic a feast than Besson ever intended.


Euro-Waterworld: Luc Besson on the set of The Big Blue
Euro-Waterworld: Luc Besson on the set of The Big Blue

The Big Blue starts Friday at U Film Society.

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