- Breck Eisner
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) are a pair of treasure hunters who have worked together for years. Dirk has always been obsessed with a particular event in history: the disappearance of a Civil War battleship in the middle of the desert… or so he thinks. When he finally comes into possession of a valuable lead he borrows a yacht from his sponsor (William H. Macy) and heads to Mali with his crew. He has company, as Dr. Eva Green (Penélope Cruz) is tracing a plague coming out of that same city and comes along for the ride with her people. Soon they find out that there’s something fishy going on, and that their missions might be a little more related than they thought at first.
The movie begins with a credit sequence which has the camera spying on every single corner of Dirk’s place. It is with this sequence that I stood up and became a bit more optimistic. It is a great shot in which we start to know the characters, see photos of their adventures, get a knack of what they’re into and realize the great friendship between Dirk and Al. And it’s all in a few minutes!
After that the movie goes into a halt for about one third of its running time or so. There’s barely any action or adventure, but actually a lot of space to introduce the characters, see how they meet, learn about their missions, et al. I think a little bit of tightening, whether script-wise or editing-wise, would’ve helped, but it’s no biggie, for what follows afterwards more than makes up for it.
And I’m talking adventure baby! Sure, the movie does not reach Indiana Jones’ levels, but it gets close. A lot of obstacles get in the way of our heroes, but what I liked the most is the way they handle it. You get the sense that they’re having fun even when fighting for their lives and it’s that tongue-in-cheek attitude that sets the movie apart. No one is taking themselves seriously; the movie has a lot of almost impossible stunts and unbelievable situations and yet it’s always about the fun, fun, fun!
Quibbles, for me, included a rather unimpressive score and a certain lack of fire between Dirk and Eva, who are supposed to have something going on yet it’s almost never mentioned or brought up. That said, I had a great time with the movie.
McConaughey and Zahn are a great pairing. Perhaps they both lack the superstar attraction of an action star, but together they’re dynamite, and that’s the whole point of their relationship. A lot of movies are made with unlikely pairs that are too forced for their own good, but here we believe in their friendship and are never forced into accepting their characters. Great work by both of them! I also enjoyed Lambert Wilson, William H. Macy and Delroy Lindo in smaller parts.
“No, I only know how to say, ‘I don't speak English’ in English.”
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