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Mar adentro (2004)

The Sea Inside, Mare dentro

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 125 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12


Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem) wants to die, and he doesn’t half make sure everybody knows about it. With Ramon, it’s all death this, death that. “Do you never think about death?” he asks his pal Julia (Belen Rueda). I half-expected her to reply that she doesn’t have much choice in the matter, what with him banging on about it all the time. He needs to change the bloody record, if you ask me.

Still, you’ve got to have a bit of sympathy for the poor soul. He’s a quadriplegic, and has been stuck in bed ever since a diving accident 30 years ago paralysed him from the neck down. To make matters even worse, he’s pestered by do-gooders sitting by his bedside telling him how great life is. If I had to put up with three decades of being forced against my will to listen to such a procession of witless cretins, I’d probably want to snuff it too.

And there, in a nutshell, is the storyline of ‘The Sea Inside’. Based on a true story, it’s writer-director Alejandro Amenabar’s first flick since 2001’s ‘The Others’. It’s a vast improvement on that one, predominantly because it doesn’t feature Nicole Kidman swanning about a big house doing sod all, but it’s hardly a ground-breaker. Bardem delivers a touching performance, and the euthanasia debate at the heart of it all is a valid one, but there’s a constant feeling that this is a one-trick-pony with the soul objective of trying to make us all feel a bit weepy. Give it it’s due, for many viewers it will achieve its goal, a fact borne out by its scooping of the The Best Foreign Language Film award at the 2005 Oscars. But, like the sea itself, this is a film that simply washed over me.

It's Got: Nessun Dorma!

It Needs: To sort its subtitles out – half the time the white text is on a white background, making it practically impossible to read. That’s nothing short of shabby.

DVD Extras Nothing. In this day and age, that’s inexcusable. Version reviewed The Sea Inside (Entertainment in Video) DVD Extras Rating: 0/10


This Spanish melodrama makes a very valid point, but it’s wrapped up inside some distinctly unimaginative film-making.