New to VOD this week:
Alex Parkinson and Richard da Costa
A commercial deep sea diver is stranded on the seabed with only minutes of air left.
In September 2012, diver Chris Lemons descended the North Sea on a routine maintenance operation for an oil well from the ship The Topaz. In the inhospitable dark and freezing water, Lemons’ literal lifeline is an umbilical cord stretching back up to the surface. When a computer glitch tears away the cord, Lemons has only five minutes of breathable air – but rescue is at least 30 minutes away. Parkinson and da Costa milk the suspense for all its worth, presenting Lemons’ story via interviews with his fellow divers and loved ones, archival recordings, and passable reenactments, all to to the purpose of misdirecting audience expectations as to the diver’s ultimate fate. It’s more or less successful, tapping into the survival thriller genre, even as it overplays the drama, and may find appeal among audiences not typically drawn to nonfiction.