Turning true stories into films or television shows will never leave everyone happy. Those who are unaware of the original story may love it and those who know of it and feel the story is being told in poor taste may despise it. With that said, I really like going into films based on true stories, without having any knowledge of what happened in reality, simply because I love a good surprise. Even when I do know the story, I choose to place that knowledge in the back of my mind to get the most enjoyment out of a film. Knowing nothing about the true events that Netflix’s The Red Sea Diving Resort presents, I didn’t find myself offended like some viewers are stating, but I do have my fair share of minor issues. Still, here’s why The Red Sea Diving Resort is worth a watch.
How accurate this premise is portrayed, I’m unsure, but the premise of the film itself follows a group of five agents who purchase a hotel with a waterfront in Sudan. This purchase will eventually lead to taking in refugees without anyone knowing and bringing them out to a ship which will lead them away from the horrors they’ve been in. This is a very serious issue that, at least in some capacity, will always be occurring somewhere in the world. It’s a terrible thing, so my biggest issue with this film is the fact that it didn’t always take itself seriously.
Nothing against the work of Tim Squyres (who I actually admire for his work), but the overall editing of this film felt like it needed some infused energy. His work on Life of Pi is absolutely fantastic for the slow pacing, but this movie felt about 30 minutes too long. There are many slow sequences throughout the course of the film and then it shifts into a light-hearted montage of events with happy music playing in the background, even though the audience will know the film is far from over. This jump in tones was very jarring. Other than that, this is a very solid story.
Chris Evans is the biggest current name in this film, and he’s always really good so there’s not much to say about him honestly. The crew of amazing performances around him were all fantastic as well, but Michael Kenneth Williams was the true standout of the movie to me. His calm and subtle performance truly grounded this whole story in reality. His representation of both sides was the biggest highlight of the movie in retrospect.
In the end, there are technical and pacing issues throughout this film’s entire runtime, but I wouldn’t see most average viewers finding issues with those elements. The story at hand is very engaging and the way everything plays out can be intense at times, even if a little slow. The Red Sea Diving Resort is a film that will heavily rely on whether you like the main cast and the story at hand. If for some reason either one of those bothers you, I wouldn’t recommend a watch, but this is a great story and I do recommend this movie to those looking to see something true, presented in a quality way.
Review by kjproulx