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Review: Sea Fever – The most relevant film of 2020

Every so often you watch a film that’s just made for you. Obviously, at the moment that’s more than likely in our own homes, in the most uncertain of times. Yet as the release schedule for films shifts and slides we need to make the best of a bad situation.

In amongst it, there’s some solid gold, some of which would not necessarily benefit from the big screen.

Sea Fever, written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, is the epitome of that type of film. I saw the trailer, reached out to some of my learned film friends on twitter and the film was as good as the trailer looked.

So I dived in.

Now, it’s one of those films that you’re better off knowing as little about as possible. If I’m honest, the trailer gives too much away, so I’d steer clear. Let’s just say that being stranded at sea on a fishing trawler, hours and hours away from the coast of Ireland is a pretty remote state of isolation. The film uses all of this to its absolute maximum.

The film is frustrating me this morning, as IMDb has little to nothing in it. To the point where it’s Director — You can tell immediately she’s female, based on the attention to detail on our lead, and little touches that I’m just not sure would’ve been captured with a male at the helm — is only listed as making one film. Sure, a few episodes of Casualty and Holby City (all the big names), then…. this? It makes it all the more remarkable.

The film is competent, confident, and best of all, compact. When the credits roll, we’re sub-90 minutes. Much like the fantastic, & criminally underseen Underwater, this film is lean.

Lean and mean.

It would be unfair to focus on the fact that Sea Fever takes from some of my favourite films – Alien, Jaws, The Thing, Event Horizon and Danny Boyle’s work. All the big names.

It would be unfair, as Sea Fever takes many of those films best elements and gives them a 2020 evolution. A new lease of life. A spin that makes them horrifically modern and relevant.

Without saying too much, it’s impossible to believe this film was made pre-COVID-19.

Themes of quarantine. Themes of sacrificing your own freedom for the greater good. Themes of going places you shouldn’t have gone in the first place, then dealing with the consequences.

They’re all here, writ large.

Sea Fever is my new favourite film of 2020. In a year, when all of our lists are going to look a little…. sparse…. I’d urge you to go looking.

I never thought I’d find a gem on the western coast of Ireland. Yet here we are. Stalking every cast member on IMDb – Hermione Corfield, Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Ardalan Esmaili, Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey, Elie Bouakaze – for what else they’ve done. Each and everyone is fantastic to a man — or more importantly, a woman.

Sea Fever is currently out in the USA on Digital. It hits the UK on 27th April 2020.

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