The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, 2004)

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.

I liked some things about this, without being anything like on the same wavelength: mainly the production design, and particularly the cutaway set which showed the interior of Zissou's ship, the Belafonte.

I think I've figured out one reason why I didn't find any of it funny: it depends on the script as such being risible (which it's not), without the actors raising a finger to sell any of the lines. Another reason is that I watched it alone: a sympathetic audience around me might have been contagious.

However, it was worth persevering to the end as the concept as a whole is mildly amusing. Also, it has Cate Blanchett showing once again what a consummate actress she is - which almost makes up for Owen Wilson having no ability whatsoever. Willem Dafoe actually manages to be a bit funny - who would have thought that was possible? Michael Gambon is of course wonderful more or less as himself - but he has no place in this silly American film.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 15 March, 2017 | Now: 24 May, 2017