DEEP END. Written and directed by Eubulus Timothy with Carishma Basday, Greg Kriek, Priya Lutchman, Mahendra Raghunath and Soraya Rose-Santos.
KAREN RUTTER reviews
Writer/director Eubulus Timothy tackles a couple of topics in his latest feature film, Deep End. Set in Durban, it’s primarily about a young woman from a fairly conservative Indian family, who is determined to earn how to surf. But her family, particularly her father, are against this. She also meets and falls in love with a young man who is not part of her community, further pushing the edge with her family. And she has to come up against the casual racism of some of her fellow surfers.
All of which sounds great on paper. And I really, really wanted to like this film so much. Unfortunately, it just never got off the ground. Mediocre acting, bad continuity and a script oozing with patriarchal, sexist attitudes (not done in any ironic way, mind) meant it was an ordeal to watch this through to its very predictable end.
Sunitha (Carishma Basday) is sort of sweet as a wannabe surf gal who’s prepared to secretly ride the waves in defiance of her father. But although she tries to be feisty, she just end up either crying or bitching most of the time. Her love interest, Corey (Greg Kriek) is about as timber-like as a board from Rolling Wood (that’s a real surfing reference!), turning in a rigid, one-dimensional performance. And the rest – let’s just say that they’re mostly required to be caricatures, which they carry off comfortably (the chattering aunties, the crafty uncles, the bad-boy surfers, and so on).
The continuity was shocking at times, particularly the surf scenes. One minute there’d be glassy, early-morning swells, next thing a mass of midday white water – but all supposedly part of one sequence. Off the water was just as bad – in one scene, four people are a car. Later on, there are just three of them.
Bend it …
Look, I can see what Eubulus Timothy was trying to do with this film. And his intentions are cool – supposedly challenging stereotypes, and watching a young woman discover herself. But, like so many supposed “surf films for girls”, it’s actually all about getting love and approval from a boy.
I expected Bend it Like Beckham, but in the water. I got Blue Crush, but in Durban.
What: Deep End
Where: Ster-Kinekor cinemas