By George Rose
May 26, 2009
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Didn't expect to see this selection as a movie with a deep moral question, did you? Movies about monster sharks, sinking sea facilities and B-list actors running around in wet-suits don't usually make it to the top of "deep thinking required" lists. Though this movie doesn't demand much thought, it is exciting, fun and poses somewhat of a moral dilemma.
The underwater facility in question is a laboratory where Alzheimer's disease is researched. It is kept underwater since the cure of the disease seems to have been found in the brain of sharks, which have been genetically altered to be larger for the sake of mass producing the brain serum. Make sense? Well, naturally bigger sharks mean stronger sharks and being the test subject for the human species doesn't sit well with them. Once they discover their size and strength, it becomes the mission of these monsters to escape into the deep blue sea. Their meal ticket includes stars like Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Stellan Skarsgard and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson (because he can't seem to work enough).
It is a great movie to watch on a Saturday afternoon (back when I had Saturday afternoons off from work) and has that moral question I made slight mention of before: is it okay to use animals as test subjects for the sake of extending human life beyond its natural point? Many would say "no", while those saying "yes" need only to see Deep Blue Sea to change their minds. While accidentally killing an animal during testing seems like collateral damage done for a good cause, being the target of a monster created because of testing can't be viewed as such. Sometimes our actions have negative consequences that proper caution beforehand could have prevented. While giant sharks seems like too small a chance to take seriously, the many painful (yet intricate and creative) deaths found in DBS are enough to have me protesting against animal cruelty. I know it's a long shot but the movie has me wondering if one day a dog will be accidentally altered into a killing machine if makeup companies put the wrong chemically-imbalanced lipstick on the poor pup. Keep your fingers crossed that this doesn't happen.
So many questions come with answers that are met with doubt. When the question is profound or provocative enough to raise a few eyebrows, doubt is necessary in making sure alternative options for answers are found before rushing into any one decision that could later be regretted. Since it so often coincides with answers, why not have it be the answer to "What movie should I watch that George recommends?" or "What's another reason Meryl Streep should be Queen of the World?"
It was only released a few short months ago, during the winter awards season. Oddly enough, it received wide release on Christmas Day. It seems strange to me since the day it was released is, as far as religion is concerned, is the day a child was born, whereas the film itself is about the day a child was possibly taken advantage of by his mentor priest. Oh, Catholics, you sure are a funny bunch. Well, not really. Streep plays a tough-as-nails nun who takes on the task of convicting the church's priest based on allegations she has no proof for. This seemed like a great addition to this week's list of movies, since it was recent enough that you might still be thinking about it and was recently released on DVD (making it possible to rent and watch in the near future). The film spends so much of its time thoroughly convincing you to believe one side of the story but ends with proclaimed doubt. Can we ever really be 100% sure of anything we are not directly involved in? Do we have the right to interfere with other people's families and choices? Where is the line drawn between caring teacher and principal dictator?