Le Grand Bleu…oh, mon Dieu….what a film! (French accent goes here): French cinema, c’est..c’est…c’est Le Grand Bleu. (Back to normal accent): Ok, fine…this one automatically comes to my mind even though it arguably isn’t 100% Francais, but cut me a little slack here…s’il vous plait? If you want….I can say, fine, Luc Besson is French…that ok? But hey, whatever the approach, the point is, this is a stunning film. One of those that should be on your “Must See” list. Near the top I should add.
Oh…You’re expecting a brief plot outline? No way. Nope. Can’t help you. Just watch it. Seriously.
The Big Blue (apparently one of France’s most successful films from a commercial perspective) was recommended to me by a work colleague and finally one evening I went past the DVD Rental store to get a copy (remember when DVD/Video stores were still going strong?). Problem was that I didn’t realise how long…hmmm…well, long implies it was dragged out, so, let me rephrase: I didn’t realise the film duration was well over two hours. So, usual Friday night of dinner and just winding down and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t started watching and typical, the disc was due back the next morning. What else to do but get stuck right in. I mean really, probably one I can manage without finishing…most likely just another average movie…right? What???? Oh so wrong…I watched the whole thing into the wee hours of Saturday and went to bed with tears streaming down my cheeks (I’m emotional, ok), sobbing…”what’s wrong?”…”n-n-n-nothiiiiiing, sob, sob”…”but, I thought you were watching a movie?”….”sob, I, sob, was”…shakes head in disbelief going back to sleep… Point is, it was an experience exquisite. So engrossing, emotional, satisfying, heart-wrenching. And no way was it ever going to be banished to the unfinished movie list.
Luc Besson, teamed together with fellow Frenchman Eric Serra for the musical score (I may be wrong but I believe Luc Besson exclusively works with Eric Serra) have produced a visual, aural and intellectual masterpiece. The scenery is just amazing. I always say that such vastness and beauty shown in the underwater shots would also lure me into that big blue bliss. Eric Serra‘s music is just as mesmerising and complements the visuals seamlessly. But, to this day, this film keeps me on my thinking toes…I often just gaze into space wondering why Jacques behaves the way he does, why he makes the choices he does and what Johana’s real agenda is. Is she to blame? Is he? Is Enzo? Is there any blame? Can Jacques be anyone else but Jacques given different circumstances? Naturally, from a story perspective, no, nothing could be changed as then it wouldn’t be what it is but it still makes you wonder. I love it when I’m left thinking…straightforward films can be so bland. Maybe I’m just overthinking things again. Ah, the beauty of cinema coupled with each person’s point of view, experiences, beliefs and state of mind. Being made of aware of people, places or events I didn’t know about through film is something I greatly appreciate. Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca (Molinari in the film) were totally unknown to me beforehand and although they are not accurately depicted in The Big Blue, at least I was exposed to them and free-diving.
As for the acting, another perfect portrayal of contrasting personalities by a spot-on selection of actors. Jean Reno, adds drive but at the same time light-ish relief to the story. From what I understand, he isn’t French but born to Spanish parents in Morocco, settling in France in his teens where he got into the world of French cinema and theatre. Likewise Jean-Marc Barr (half French but born in Germany) is fantastic in his portrayal of the troubled (or is he?) Jacques. Rosanna Arquette annoys the daylights out of me…goal achieved. She does this realistically and at some points I want to slap her and tell her to grow up and leave Jacques alone and at other times I sympathise with her and want to tell her that he just isn’t worth it. That special something would definitely be missing if Enzo didn’t have his sidekick, who, as is often the case with these roles, none of us know the actor unless we look him up, but we definitely remember him.
So, do yourself a favour, immerse yourself in it.