Deep Water (PG)

Documentary 93 September 7, 2007
In 1968 — a year that seems surprisingly ancient when viewed through Deep Water’s faded, sleepy shots of English coastal towns — the Sunday Times sponsored a contest to see if a man could sail around the world, alone and nonstop. There were nine entrants, from the well-known yachtsman Bernard Moitessier to the astonishingly inexperienced electrical engineer Donald Crowhurst. Moitessier, who’s as chiseled a Superman as they come, conquered the course easily, but just as he was about to glide into port and set a world speed record, he decided to renounce fame and fortune, turn around, and circle the globe again. Crowhurst, on the other hand, was a world-class bumbler. Realizing early on that his practically homemade trimaran couldn’t survive the rough southern waters, he abandoned the race and spent several months drifting off the coast of Brazil, sending word to his sponsors that he was actually in the Indian Ocean. Things only got worse — much worse — from there. It would have been hard to squeeze a movie out of this Ayn Rand–ian fable were it not for Crowhurst’s own 16-mm footage of his voyage, which co-directors Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell found in a dusty BBC archive. His efforts to film himself look like something on Facebook, but they are haunting evidence of the toll that isolation and exertion can take on a relatively average guy from Somerset.
Jerry Rothwell, Louise Osmond Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Donald Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst, Santiago Franchessie Francois Ivernel IFC Films

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