In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, a 36-year-old father, marine electronics inventor and Sunday sailor enters the most daring nautical race ever - the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Solo, non-stop, round the world race, with a £5,000 cash prize for the winner. Crowhurst is driven by financial needs - and his desire to prove to the world that with the help of his revolutionary invention, an on board computer, one could sail the seas effortlessly. The competitors include the amateur Chay Blyth; Frenchman Bernard Moitessier; and Robin Knox-Johnston. Crowhurst soon starts to radio through a series of increasing record-breaking daily distances. The nine men who originally started the race are reduced to just two including Crowhurst. As the world waits for this extraordinary man to cross the finish line to a heroes welcome, the jaw-dropping truth is revealed.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This well crafted and engaging documentary is a ripping yarn of a man's mansize adventure going horribly wrong. Minimal narration is used, but effectively, to string together first hand accounts from many of those who played a part in the story, notably Donald Crowhurst himself, his wife and his son. Archival footage, including Crowhurst's own 16 mm films from the event and voice recordings, together with newly recorded interviews bridge the time gap of almost 40 years in a fascinating account of one man's desperate journey.
Crowhurst was financially stretched yet he managed to raise the money to get a boat built for the Sunday Times race around the world - the first non-stop solo yachting attempt. His sponsor contracted with him to either finish the race or give him his money back. Back home, the media was hungry to report every telegram or radio message of progress from the nine contestants. But neither the inexperienced Crowhurst nor his scratch boat were up to the enormous challenge. Heading south towards the most dangerous seas, Crowhurst was faced with no viable options. If he continued forward he'd surely die. If he gave up, he would be financially ruined. He couldn't face his family, friends ... that way lay ignominy and self loathing.
He found a third alternative: pretend to be making progress. But this trapped him in lies he could never undo, and finally, the pressure and the loneliness cracked him.
Intimate, dramatic and immaculately stitched together, Deep Water is the story of a man in deep poo - told with grace and measured intensity.
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DEEP WATER (G)
CAST: Documentary featuring Donald Crowhurst
VOICES: Donald Crowhurst (archival), Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst, Simon Russell Beale, Jean Badin
NARRATION: Tilda Swinton
PRODUCER: Johnny Persey, John Smithson
DIRECTOR: Louise Osmond, Jerry Rothwell
SCRIPT: Not credited
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nina Kellgren
EDITOR: Ben Lester
MUSIC: Harry Escott, Molly Nyman
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 11, 2007