Head Above Water Review

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Nathalie (Diaz), a reformed wild child, has married a possessive father figure and judge, George (Keitel). He's stashed her in a beach house on an island off Maine to get clean and sober while he goes fishing with her buddy Lance (Sheffer). Enter ex-lover Kent (Zane), and it's all about to go off the deep end.


Put one woman and three men on a remote island and there's bound to be trouble, although quite how much discord the quartet are plunged into in this dark farce is spectacularly extreme.

Enter, in a rowing boat, Nathalie's tired and emotional ex-lover Kent (Billy Zane), ranting and raving but beautifully dressed in white linen. From this point, the country house thriller genre and Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry spring to mind as a body, fateful coincidences and misunderstandings create a domino effect of vaguely comic disaster.

First time director Wilson has a capital spewer of sarcastic quips in Keitel, and a fine beleaguered heroine in Diaz, but the slowness with which the confusion develops makes the film unfold like a stage play, except with better scenery and lots of water, as it veers annoyingly between suspense and full-tilt farce without any truly macabre wit.

Only in the last 15 minutes do the characters' frantic, homicidal manoeuvres amount to some fun, with the best laugh coming last in a "twist" that can be foreseen. Otherwise, like its characters, it's limp and wet.