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LE GRAND BLEU, 1988
Movie Review

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LE GRAND BLEU MOVIE POSTER
LE GRAND BLEU, 1988
Movie Reviews

Directed by Luc Besson
Starring: Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette, Jean-Marc Barr, Marc Duret, Jean Bouise, Sergio Castellitto, Paul Shenar
Review by Nina Katungi



SYNOPSIS:

Jacques Mayol and Enzo Molinari have known each other since they were children. They both love the ocean and they are both great swimmers but one is simply modest about his talents while the other wants everyone to know how great he is. After Jacques’s father dies he disappears and they lose touch. Years go by and Enzo becomes well-known for his free diving but soon he finds no challenge in his competitors. He wants to dive against the best and the best is Jacques Mayol.

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REVIEW:

Le Grand Bleu was one of Lu Besson’s earlier films. It’s a beautiful, romantic, and thrilling piece - I would call it an epic love story. I have watched the film so many times I just simply can’t get enough of it. Besson is a visual filmmaker and this piece is a great example of his talent. He is known for his action movies like “Leon” and “The Fifth Element”, this one however stands out of the crowd and I would love to see him make more like “Le Grand Bleu” in the future.

Le Grand Bleu follows a man called Jacques Mayol (Barr) who has grown up in an isolated world where the ocean and dolphins seem to be his only family. The film starts when Jacques is about ten-years old, growing up in a little French village with his father, a diver. It is clear that he is quite the loner and spends time swimming and helping his father with his work. Enzo Molinari (Reno) is the same age as Jacques, perhaps slightly older, and it is clear that he wants to be the centre of attention. He always travels with an entourage and is ready to prove his many talents at all times. Enzo knows that Jacques is his only competition and always likes to challenge him when he gets the chance. Jacques is clearly modest about his talent and merely likes to keep to himself.

One day when Jacques joins his father on the boat and things don’t go to plan. While his father is diving something goes very wrong with the oxygen tank. Jacques is helpless there is nothing he can do to save his father. He just watches as his father sinks further and further down into the depths of the sea. Enzo witnesses the accident from afar. He is helpless too and can only endure the moment just like Jacques. This is the last time Enzo sees Jacques and it’s not until about fifteen years later that they meet each other again.

Enzo and Jacques are now adults living two very different lives. Enzo is famous for his free-diving and has won many awards, while Jacques travels all arund the world taking on different jobs as a diver. Enzo is bored with his not-so challenging opponents, he wants to find Jacques and bring him back into his world of diving. He succeeds and manages to get Jacques to enter this diving competition in Italy. They finally re-unite after all this time and a whole new adventure begins for the both of them.

Johana Baker (Arquette) is from New York and meets Jacques while he’s working in Peru. Johana works for an insurance company and is sent to Peru to deal with some paperwork. The minute she sees Jacques, she falls head over heels for him. Their encounters may have been brief but Johana is smitten, so when she finds out that Jacques’s entered a diving competition in Italy she tricks her boss into sending her there for business. A romance starts to blossom but after time goes by Johana realises that Jacques’s only true love lies in the depths of the ocean. He is still that isolated boy whose life and love is “The Big Blue”.

What’s very interesting about this film is that it has an English version and French version. They were shot in both languages, which is not very common. I have to say that the French version would definitely be my pick, it feels natural and the sensuous language enhances the beauty and the tone of the film. The film is also beautifully shot, it is visually stunning and with places like Greece and Italy as its backdrop you can’t go wrong. The soundtrack to the film is soothing and magical that it lures the audience into the film’s world. “Le Grand Bleu” is an array of beauty from sight to sound to a talented cast and a talented filmmaker. This is a full package that will satisfy all your senses and if you haven’t seen it already well then I think you should go out and rent it now.

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