Deep Water Review

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Documentary of Donald Crowhurst's blighted attempt at winning the 1969 round-the-world yacht race.


There’s an impending sense of doom from the start of this documentary — even if you don’t know how the 1969 round-the-world sailing race ended up. And if you don’t, this makes for particularly fascinating viewing. It tells of Brit Donald Crowhurst, an ambitious amateur yachtsman and father of four who set out on the trip and almost instantly encountered problems.

Along with archive footage, reconstructions and log entries, Tilda Swinton’s narration provokes thought about the pressures of financial responsibility: Crowhurst knew that abandoning the dangerous race would make him bankrupt. Contributions from Crowhurst’s wife and son are moving, despite leaving a few key questions up in the air.

Verdict: A sad story, but well told, with respect for its subject and an eye for the Shakespearian tragedy in the tale