Sanctum

"OK"

Sanctum Review


Inspired by a true story and executive produced by underwater-film fanatic James Cameron, this cave-diving thriller has a lot going for it, thanks to a strong cast and high production values. But the script fails to make anything of the premise.

Fit young Aussie Josh (Wakefield) travels to a remote cave in Papua New Guinea with American financier-adventurer Carl (Gruffudd) and his girlfriend (Parkinson). There they join a team, already deep underground, led by Josh's hard-man dad Frank (Roxburgh). Having just discovered a massive new water-filled chamber, everyone's shocked by the accidental death of a team member (Cratchley). And then a tropical storm descends, flooding their base camp and forcing the spelunkers deeper underground in search of another way out. But the already strained team finds it difficult to work together.

The story is packed with possibilities, especially as the film moves from one outrageous set piece to the next. Director Grierson and his plucky cast really go for it, creating a believably terrifying environment and situations that seem utterly impossible to survive. The physicality of the film is sometimes breathtaking, and the actors all get a chance to flex their muscles along with their acting chops.

The problem is that the dramatic scenes strain the film badly. The whole father-son dynamic might be well-played by Roxburgh and Wakefield, but it's so corny that we never engage with it for a second. And the tension between Frank and Carl isn't helped by Gruffudd's oddly flat American accent or thinly drawn character. Clearly, the screenwriters felt that the story needed a human villain to add some tension, but they fail to make this one believable simply because he's so relentlessly simplistic.

And then there's the problem of the structure, which progresses like a slasher movie as the evil cave kills team members one by one. This leaves us unable to sympathise with anything that's happening, since it's all being so clearly controlled by a writer. We just sit back and enjoy the gorgeous island scenery and amazing underground caverns, although the 3D is never used to its full effect. But by the time the emotional climax comes, we just don't believe it.



Sanctum

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th February 2011

Box Office USA: $23.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $108.9M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Wayfare Entertainment, Great Wight Productions/ Osford Films, Sanctum Australia, Start Motion Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 113

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alister Grierson

Producer: Ben Browning, , , Michael Maher,

Starring: as Carl Hurley, as Frank McGuire, as Victoria Elaine, as Josh McGuire, as Crazy George, as Judes, Christopher James Baker as J.D., Nicole Downs as Liz, Cramer Cain as Luko, Andrew Hansen as Dex, John Garvin as Jim Sergeant, Sean Dennehy as Chopper Pilot, Nea Diap as Kastom Shaman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.