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Deep Water

Isolation in the swollen seas
By NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  September 5, 2007
3.5 3.5 Stars
THE CHALLENGE: Donald Crowhurst departing on Teignmouth Electron.

The challenge: sail around the world single-handed without stopping, 33,000 miles and 10 months of solitude, waves, and horizon. In the late ’60s, nine men signed up for the race, experienced sailors all, with the exception of one Donald Crowhurst, a consummate underdog, media darling, fan favorite. This documentary from Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell looks at his voyage using his own filmed footage, his logs and diaries, and interviews with his wife, his son, sailors, and journalists. For Crowhurst, in his faulty boat, the choice was death or humiliation. Perfectly paced, with long, tense shots of swollen seas and leaky hulls, it’s a story of isolation, madness, money, pride, and shame, and even the power of a journalistic juggernaut. Part Moby Dick (the pursuit of an idea so much bigger than yourself), part Odyssey (Crowhurst's wife a patient, sad-eyed Penelope), part Heart of Darkness (the results of approaching the void), the movie shows us the rare event: what happens when a man, stripped of the bullshit of the actual world, has to truly confront himself.
  Topics: Reviews , Donald Crowhurst
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