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Odyssey, The


Stars: Lambert Wilson, Audrey Tautou, Pierre Niney, Benjamin Lavernhe, Laurent Lucas, Vincent Heneine, Roger Van Hool, Chloe Hirschman, Adam Neill, Chloe Williams

Director: Jérôme Salle

The story of underwater explorer and (much later) conservationist Jacques Cousteau (Wilson) hardly makes for high drama until its latter stages. But his underwater films are still famous today. and the body of the film dwells on his deep-sea dives to photograph marine life as never before seen, and the bonds he forges with his wife (Tautou) and young sons.

When the sons (Nimey, Lavernhe) are grown, schisms are soon revealed within the family, mainly stemming from the self-centred, womanising Cousteau becoming increasingly commercialised, fighting unpaid taxes and taking massive bank loans to finance further explorations.

And there's a family tragedy, which we see at beginning of the film.

Before that, Cousteau and his younger son, a fellow maritime explorer, are reconciled in a common cause. 'I wanted to conquer the ocean's wildlife,' says Cousteau, seeing the light, 'when I should have been protecting it.'

Lots of underwater stuff, though beautifully shot, does get a wee bit repetitive in this informative but slightly overlong film, which has both French and English dialogue.

David Quinlan

France 2016. UK Distributor: Altitude. Technicolor.
123 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Aug 2017