“The Red Sea Diving Resort” – Review (A Compelling Drama with Evans in the Lead)

Diving Resort (2019) Poster“THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT” is now streaming on Netflix headlined by Chris Evans. It also features Haley Bennett, Michael Kenneth Williams, Ben Kingsley, Greg Kinnear and others to round out a solid cast. This film is inspired by the real-life events of the late 70’s through early 80’s when a group of Mossad agents used an abandoned coastal resort as a cover for smuggling thousands of refugees out of Sudan and into Israel, with the help of a small group of Ethiopians.

The reputation for Netflix Original films has not been too stellar over the years, despite some bright spots here and there. With this one delivering a great cast, along with a story that weaves many moving pieces together into a tension filled narrative. I would say this movie is a success for Netflix, even in the face of its minor flaws. It does have a mildly formulaic approach to how the story is being told. It does feel like other similar films like it, in terms of how the story is structured, how it’s shot, moments of the scoring, and other components. However, everything still blends into an intriguing movie that captures a tragic period in this region with a thoughtful approach. The dramatic impact did hit with me and I was completely invested in how it would proceed.

This was aided by a great collection of performances all around with everyone leaving an imprint on the film through their roles. Chris Evans was fantastic, and it was nice to see him doing something that wasn’t involving Captain America. I loved him in this role, and felt he was able to shed his superhero moniker to disappear into a character that could be related to. I was able to grasp his investment in getting these refugees to safety. I was able to connect to the motives he had and with what drove him, and it was compelling to see progress. There were many tense situations crafted in this story that had me on edge, and there wasn’t a single scene where Evans wasn’t able to deliver what emotions were needed.

Haley Bennett, Michiel Huisman, Alessandro Nivola, and Alex Hassell were all excellent as well. Their performances were subtly impactful, and I felt they made the most out of these roles by capturing the tight chemistry of this group. They all hit the needed range of emotions and they effectively captured their relationship dynamics with an appealing authenticity. Greg Kinnear and Ben Kingsley come in and shine in smaller, but still import roles. These characters or individuals in films like this one are often forgotten. But with the screen presence of Kinnear and Kingsley, they make every scene much more lasting in terms of impression.

The production value was awesome, and it was perfectly tailored for the subject matter. On the scene locations create rich backdrops for the characters and it opens the landscape up for the suspenseful moments. Often our characters feel like something is coming and the moments from spotting advancements in the distance, to their impending arrival successfully create an unnerving feeling that connects the viewer with the weight of the situations these people put themselves through. This creates ramifications and a true threat to our protagonists which is always a bonus for cinematic retelling s. There are a handful of action filled sequences that are well shot. The cinematography also complements the direction nicely to create a capable visual appeal throughout.

Small drawbacks to this one would be the length primarily. While is does have continual forward movement it does seem to drag in spots considering the procedural organization of the scenes. It also delivers some tonal shifts that kept it from creating its own atmosphere. There were times the music would kick in with a more upbeat tone which would give the film a stylish vibe. Then it would be contrasted with some unrelenting acts of gritty violence and it was a little uneven at times as far as overall tone. But this was still a very captivating film with strong levels of quality and effort. It captures a sad, yet human spirited moment in history and showcases the bravery of those involved without ever glorifying them. And that certainly makes this film worth checking out.

GRADE: 80%

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