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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sanctum (2011) movie

It has been ages since I've done a movie synopsis but we just caught the movie in 3D this weekend at KSL city and I can't get it out of my head just yet.

Movie starts with billionaire Carl landing in New Guinea with his girlfriend Victoria whom he met on an Everest expedition. They are met upon disembarking from the sea-plane by young 17 year old Josh. Josh is the son of Frank who is an experienced cave diver who is presently exploring the cave system at the mother of all caves, a huge hole in the ground that Carl, Victoria and Josh helicopter into. There is a system that connects the base camps set up almost 2km underground with the surface which allows video conferencing. 1 of Frank's team-mates, George tells Frank who is about to go on a dive that another member Jude, who is supposed to go on the dive does not seem ready and when Frank questions Jude, she almost begs him to let her go on the dive. They both go, followed by a robot which transmits images of the divers and the surroundings to the video system. There is a narrow opening in the rock which they both have to squeeze through to get to a new cavern and they make a decision to leave their spare tanks behind. However while squeezing through, Jude's hose gets caught and tears, causing water to enter the tube and flood her face-mask. Frank shares his own mask with her for some time but then when she reaches out for his mask the third time, he pushes her away and she quickly drowns before his eyes. He makes his way to the decompression chamber underground while her body floats outside. The people at the surface and in the base camp watch with horror, esp Josh who accuses his father of killing Jude. Frank brings Jude's dead body back to the base camp just in time to hear Josh's accusations. George explains to Josh that the moment there was a leak in Jude's pipe, it was a qn of one dead body or two down there and Frank giving Jude the few moments of air with his mask of a heroic act.

In any case, Carl, Victoria and Josh have by then climbed down /parachuted into the base camp and Carl's intent is to explore with Josh the new cavern which Jude died in the next day. However, there is a storm which spirals quickly into a hurricane that night and 2 of the members of the base camp manage to make their way out. Josh is suppose to climb up with them and one of the local guides, Lugo, but both turn back instead to warn those left at the base camp - Frank, Carl, Victoria and George. They manage to reach the group but while trying to rescue them using a system of ropes which is secured by a large rock, the rock gives way and Lugo falls into the water and is sucked underwater underground despite Josh trying to hold on to his leg. The exit is also shut because of the rock. Realizing that they have to find another way out, the group make their way back to base camp to pick up whatever they can find for survival. Lugo's body surfaces and Josh grabs it, only to find that Lugo is still alive but horribly battered with just 1 eye left. Frank holds Lugo underwater to drown him in a mercy killing despite Josh's and Victoria's protests. George leads Josh away while Carl does the same with Victoria. Frank tells them that every bone in Lugo's body has been broken and there was no way he could have survived. Besides, the base camp would be flooded in a matter of hours and they had to keep moving. Frank then asks Victoria to put on a wet suit which he is about to remove from Jude's dead body but she refuses to wear it. So they set off swimming underwater to try to find the way out of the underground caves to the sea using the river. However, along the way after surfacing, George suffers from decompression bends and is unable to keep up. He asks Josh to go along first while he catches his breath, coughing. When he spits out blood, he decides to hide himself from the group. Frank realizes what has happened and goes back for him, calling out for him but he refuses to show himself, lying hidden in the dark with blood oozing from his nose until he dies. The group of 4 then presses on.

They come to an opening where the only way is across a churning round pit of water that appears like a bubbling whirlpool. Frank calls it a meat-grinder and wants to climb to the opening at the other side but Josh does the climbing instead as the best climber in the group. He successfully makes it to the other side, climbing the cave walls and sets up the belay system. When Victoria is crossing, Carl shines his light at her, causing her to be blinded and slip. Her hair gets caught in system of ropes and is torn/ripped from her scalp. In pain, she ignores Frank's warning not to use her knife to free herself from the ropes, and cuts through her hair. However, she cuts through the rope instead and plummets downwards, breaking her spine on the ropes below her and then tumbling into the whirlpool. Carl is half mad with grief, esp when Frank does not give him time to mourn but commands that they press on.

There is one rebreather left for the 3 because of Victoria's accident (she was carrying the load) and Frank tells Carl and Josh that he will use that to explore the underwater cave before them. However, Carl grabs it and takes off. Despite jumping in after him and trying to grab him, Frank fails to get the rebreather back. Josh smells bat droppings on one of the openings above them and they decide to climb up towards where fresh air is coming from. They make it out of the caves to where a Japanese tank is - apparently a result of the ground caving in. Everyone there is dead so they use the fuel in the tank to make torches for themselves and re-enter the caves to find another way instead of waiting to be rescued. They meet Carl along the way and Carl begs them for some food. Josh lets him have some. Frank walks towards Carl despite his protests and sees that Carl has been hiding Victoria's dead body. Carl explains that he couldn't leave her. Frank tells Josh to leave Carl and walk on despite Carl trying to explain that he would have come back for them. Frank tells Carl that he should not have brought Victoria into the caves, esp since she had no experience cave diving. He also says Victoria was responsible for the decisions she made - like choosing not to wear a wet suit to keep herself warm (her fingers were numb so she slipped when Carl shone the light at her) and using the knife to free herself. Carl does not respond and so they leave Carl and walk on.

Suddenly along the way, Carl appears and jumps on Frank, impaling him on a minor stalagmite.Josh jumps at Frank and manage to over-power him, leaving him half-lifeless in the water. Josh goes back to Frank's side and sees that Frank is mortally wounded. Behind him, Carl rises up from the water and Josh tells him that the reason they have been alive for so long is because of Frank. Carl does not respond to that and jumps into the cave water without taking any equipment. In the meantime, Frank asks Josh to help him. Josh agrees and Frank asks Josh to help carry him into the water where he lies there in pain. And then Frank asks Josh to help him to make things faster. Josh does not understand and wants to wait with Frank until Frank expires. Frank tells Josh he would rather go faster and not like this in pain slowly, so after promising Frank that he would never give up, Josh holds his father underwater until he drowns. Josh then takes the rebreather and enters the cave water. He by-passes Carl's dead body (having to swim between the dead hands) and makes his way through the underground cave system following the river ie swimming. When he runs out of air, he sucks air from the air bubbles trapped in the holes of the cave wall leading upwards to the sun light and finally manages to surface along a sandy beach.

The Slog Reviews: 7.5/10. While the setting was novel (divers in a cave), the plot certainly wasn't (much like Poseidon). The only 2 things that stayed with me after watching this movie is firstly, always listen to the one who has the most experience in the matter concerned (listen at least, not follow blindly), esp if one does not have the benefit of the experience that the person had. Secondly, all of us have to take responsibility for each decision we make, even or esp, those that have consequences that we never expect.

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