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Review - Halle Berry In A Skimpy Bikini Wasn't Enough To Keep Me Interested In "Dark Tide"

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 10, 2012 9:53 AM
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Well… it’s not as terrible as I expected it to be?

How’s that as an opener? :)

Or maybe it’s just a case of lowered expectations on my part that were indeed met.

You know the story… location: beautiful coastal South Africa where eels, dolphins, sharks and other ocean life are in abundance; tour giver and professional shark diver played by Halle Berry witnesses the death of a fellow shark diver and close friend, at the hands of a shark, which does a number on her psychologically, sending her into a yearlong sabbatical from the work… as well as from her estranged marriage to a husband played by Olivier Martinez.

A year later, business is dead, she’s in debt, and she gets an offer she can’t quite refuse from a wealthy mysterious customer who also happens to be a thrill-seeker (his last expedition saw him climb Mount Everest where he lost a good friend to the elements – a similar experience his character has with Halle’s).

The customer wants to swim with the fishes – or I should say the sharks – despite Halle’s warnings that he could instead end up sleeping with the fishes, given how treacherous and unpredictable the experience can be. But that doesn’t deter him; he’s a thrill-seeker; as he says, he likes to have his courage tested, and he’s also very persuasive – 100,000 Euros persuasive. And she needs to money, so, eventually, she agrees (with some manipulation of the situation from her estranged hubby).

Oh and the rich guy brought his troubled teen son along for the ride – a teen son who despises him.

So here we go… the stage is set; the narrative plays out aboard a boat called the Volante, as shark-biting action takes a back seat to family dramatics, as husband and wife (Halle and Olivier) grapple with what’s left of their marriage (disagreements that lead to arguments as past events are regurgitated), and father and son wrestle with their own troubled relationship (or lack thereof).

Where’s all the frigging Jaws-like tension and action? There’s actually very little of it – not until the last 15 minutes or so, when more people die, but you’re left wondering why.

Much of the film is filled with, as already noted, relationship drama (husband/wife, father/son), and, in the end, I can’t say that anything is resolved, or anyone experiences some form of redemption or catharsis; unless the deaths at the end were somehow meant to be a representation of that; but, again, the deaths randomly happen (and brutally so, compared to the rest of the PG13 film), and therefore were actually somewhat of a shock, but not necessarily in a good way.

It also doesn't help that those sequences are just not very well shot, so you never really feel the tension that I think the filmmakers were going for there.

In the end, I just didn’t care very much (about any of the characters, nor the story) to feel much of anything for the film. It was just kind of blah; Dull.

The coastal South African location was maybe the most thrilling thing about; it certainly helped contribute to the creation of some beautiful camera images – the waters (both above and under), the ocean life, the sun and breeze. I wanted to be there physically; but there’s very little else to hold your attention, and that’s unfortunate for Halle more-so than any of the other actors in this.

She’s the star; an actress who still clearly has appeal (and I don’t just mean physically; she’s after all still getting work); however, she’s also seen a string of underperformers in recent years, and her career could really use a jolt. The headlines are far more interested in her personal life as she and the father of her child duke it out in the courts (interesting correlation to what’s happening with her character in the film; also interesting when you consider that she ended up dating the actor who plays her husband in the film).

She could use some new headlines in which her professional career as an actress dominate; I'm really looking forward to Cloud Atlas.

So, it’s actually difficult to review a film like this – one that doesn’t elicit a strong reaction from you in either direction, whether positive or negative; it’s just lifeless, and you just stop caring; the worst thing that can happen to a movie – when its audience doesn’t care.

But as you’re watching it, you can see that there very well could’ve been a solid thriller in there somewhere – maybe in a different writer/director’s hands. The initial setup is good enough; but the filmmaking (writing, acting, direction, editing) just doesn't deliver.

The film seems all-too content with having Halle Berry as its star, that there doesn’t seem to have been much effort put into developing a strong narrative with interesting 3-dimensional characters. You get that the filmmakers were going for a character-driven thriller; but the relationship drama between the pairs just doesn’t hold. It’s monotonous, and gets rather boring very quickly, as you start fishing (pun intended) for other aspects of the film to sink your teeth into (I’m on a roll :)); and all that really remains is the shark action.

But as I already noted, there’s actually very little of that.

So what’s left?

Well, lots of Halle Berry in a tiny bikini :)


It'll be in theaters March 30th.

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  • Donella | March 11, 2012 3:23 PMReply

    Maybe Halle should take a hand as producer more often. It seems her projects do better when she's actively involved in the creation of the package.

  • Quentin | March 11, 2012 1:24 PMReply

    Just saw the trailer and... I hate the people who wrote and directed this s***.

  • C. Jones | March 11, 2012 8:19 AMReply

    Did you really write "fishes"... TWICE???!!

  • BluTopaz | March 11, 2012 7:13 PM

    yeah--did you really not know one of the most famous lines in movie history?!

  • Nadia | March 11, 2012 8:46 AM

    It's a "Godfather" reference dummy.

  • Orville | March 11, 2012 12:48 AMReply

    Okay, I think Tambay's review although he tries to be fair I can't help but think because Halle is the only A list black actress there is more beneath the surface.

    Halle probably took Dark Tide for a decent pay cheque but I have high hopes Cloud Atlas will do well and give her a much needed hit.

    It is so sad that Halle is getting stuff like Dark Tide while her white female counterparts get the juicy film roles.

    I think people are a bit too critical of Halle Berry she is a SOLID actress. I enjoyed Halle's performances TV film in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Queen, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Halle is an Oscar, SAG, and Emmy award winning actress. Yes, Halle is beautiful but it is not her fault that God gave this woman stunning looks. In Hollywood, looks are important but she's also a good actress. Halle was excellent in Losing Isaiah, Things We Lost In A Fire as well.

  • Marl and Darla | March 10, 2012 7:49 PMReply

    Maybe I am looking at Halle acting sitting upside down, cause what I have seen from her for the past twenty years is excellent. Loved her acting and character in Boomerang, her fuck scene in MB was so convincing to me , I wonder if she drop pussy juice on Billy Boy.

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 6:58 PMReply

    BTW - not to be negative, but the trailer needs a heck of a lot of work. The should have brought the boat turning over into the narrative much earlier. Knock the trailer down by 20 secs. The first minute could have been condensed to 10 secs and then continued at 1 min mark. Trailers are so important, I'd rather Halle not have to contend with a horrible trailer too.

  • leelee | March 10, 2012 5:29 PMReply

    I would go see it just to support a film starring a black actress and for the ocean scenes.

  • Lotus | March 10, 2012 3:43 PMReply

    It has to be something other than her looks and skin tone. There are a million light skinned chicks who will get naked on command in Hollywood. That doesn't make her stand out, I feel that Halle can act. She was very good in things we lost in the fire, Frankie and Alice and Monsters Ball. She needs to do a shall I say it?....... A black film of high quality, like Ray or Lackawanna Blues with a black leading man and reconnect with her black audience.

  • CareyCarey | March 11, 2012 12:11 PM

    @ Nadine, yep, I missed it again. Woe is me, what am I going to do :-(. Well, that's been the start of my day... I get up late (forgot about the clock thang) so I missed church. Anyway, I did like Safe House. I don't know what folks didn't like about the ending? Actually, I "think" I know, and I can assume it had something to do with Denzel's situation, but I loved his acting in that scene. In fact, Denzel carried that whole movie (what's new huh). Now, if I can say what I didn't like, it had to be some of the action scenes. Well, some of the fighting sequences were cool... you know, the camera angles kept them believable, but Denzel and ol'boy got out of some pretty unbelievable predicaments. And that white stud (Reynolds?) was able to escape every damn time, even though he was the only Gringo on the scene. Yep, the movie had more than a few flaws but it gave me what I was looking for. Having said all of that, I'm still sticking by my Etta James song and our yin/yang thang :-)

  • Nadine | March 11, 2012 10:21 AM


  • Nadine | March 11, 2012 10:20 AM

    Wait, you thought I was insulting her? I was using the term "whore" academically. "Whore" not in terms of who she is, but how "mainstream" men would like to treat her despite her "girl next door face, smile and personality". I really believe that combo sets her apart from the rest. Stacey Dash and her crew come off as sexy, not the girl next door. A Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jessica Rabbit will beat out a slew of "Jessica Rabbits" and "Girls next Door" anyday.

  • CareyCarey | March 11, 2012 12:01 AM

    @ Nadine, OoooooWeeeeee Nadine, I'll take the girl with the skinny legs. I mean, "girl next door/whore". Come on now, I'm sure your mother and your father didn't teach you that while schoolin' you at home. LMBAO. But listen, I am about to run out to see Safe House,(12AM showing) so I have to leave you with a few departing words from Etta James. It goes something like this:
    Fool that I am, for falling in love with you.
    And a, fool that I am, for thinking you loved me, too. You took my heart, then played the part of little coquette. And, all my dreams just disappeared. Like the smoke from a cigarette. Fool that I am, for hoping you'd understand. And thinking you would listen, too. And, oh, the things I had planned. But we couldn't see eye to eye, so, darling, darling, darling, this is goodbye (for tonight). But I still care, but I still care, and oh, fool that I am. Oh, but I still care, fool that I am. ~ Carey Carey, The Fool From Iowa.

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 11:21 PM

    @CareyCarey - "girl next door/whore" is still my answer and I'm stickin' to it!

  • CareyCarey | March 10, 2012 9:56 PM

    @ Akimbo, I think you've hit the mother load. Halle has unmatched charisma and a personality that exodes convidence and charm. In essence, she's very likable. At first glance or first thought, some might believe those qualities weight heavily on her "pleasant" looks. However, you shot a hole in that theory with your list of raven beauties. That list exposed the "evils" that lurk within. Now I am by no means saying any of those women are evil by definition, however, I am saying it's trite but true... beauty is only skin deep. And really, when I hear others saying she cannot act, I truly believe there's more to their story. Lastly, as you mentioned, likability can take a person a long way in Hollywood and in life (we know some people are just impossible to work with or be around), regardless of one's personal baby momma drama. Take all that personal backdrop/back lot mess off the table and Halle has a "package" that many would die for, which does not include her "fair" skin nor her past love interests.

  • Akimbo | March 10, 2012 6:40 PM

    I think Halle is a passable actress, not great, not terrible. What she has that other awful-but-pretty light-skinned actresses don't (Gugu Mbatha-Ra, Rochelle Aytes, Paula Patton, LisaRaye, Michael Michele, Stacey Dash, the chick from Vampire Diaries, the chick from Passions, the chick from Girlfriends, the replacement daughter on My Wife & Kids, this list is neverending) is charisma. Even though she's purportedly psycho, there's always been something very likable about her that I think has served her well. Personality can get you a looong way in Hollywood.

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 5:33 PM

    ...I had no idea that she was considered disconnected from Black audiences. Is that true?

  • Suzan | March 10, 2012 11:14 AMReply

    I think Halle is a solid actress/ actor with that said Hallie should get a new Manager and also take advantage of her move to France - take some time to reinvent herself. Let's be real she's by no means Beyonce but with her horrible movie choices shes starting to look unpolished.

  • CareyCarey | March 10, 2012 10:50 AMReply

    Wait Monique & Nadine(below), I believe she did a very nice job in Things We Lost In The Fire (did y'all see that?). In that film her role opposite Benicio Del Toro was very convincing and touching. In fact, I've never thought Halle was overrated. Let's be real, there are plenty of light skin sistas who will show a little skin when a role calls for it. "They" didn't get to Halle's status. Point blank... Halle can act. Heck, even as far back as her crackhead character in Jungle Fever, the woman proved that she can carry a part that does not rely on her nice looks. So what do you two assume is the basis behind her success?

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 6:34 PM

    Wooo... Pullin' out "Holiday Heart"? You are the real deal, my "yang". I'm not going to get in on the merits of that movie, but you saw Alfre! I've been too lazy the past couple of weeks - editing, etc... worn out, so I'm not so tight with the arguments (brain's refusing to work on empty), but I didn't leave out Halle's good movie, IDD ;). "...bring me the head of any A-line actress that has not been in a few stinkers. You can't blame Halle for some of that mess." - you. Being in a stinker, and BEING a stinker are 2 different things. I feel like I don't regularly question the quality of an actor's skills when I'm watching a film unless it is Halle or that horrible Charlie's Angels pilot. I won't remember to question her abilities, it just happens where, during a scene, I'm like, "oh that was terrible...". "BTW, "There Eyes were Watching" was TERRI-HORRI-BLE. They jacked the mess out of that book." - you ... They SURE did...the script PLUS (or shall I say minus) Halle's acting... I was in shock at that disaster. Still, I want her to just blow me a way... I'm sure we'll agree to disagree.

  • CareyCarey | March 10, 2012 5:58 PM

    @ Nadine... startin' trouble... WHO ME? *lol*. Well I have to say you've laid down a pretty good frame work for your argument... but-but-but-but yeah but, I could analyze all the films on your list to "explain" where the fault really lies and the serendipitous rewards she brought to each film. But see, since of late, you've been the ying to my yang ( You know, in Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Yin and yang are not opposing forces, but complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system). Sooooo we're not going there today. But wait, you did leave off a few goodies (consciously?), and we will never agree on "demonic". But I am going to throw you a bone and agree that Chris Rock's crackhead was a master piece. And I'll tell you what, Alfre Woodard's dry mouth crackhead "Wanda" in Holiday Heart was a jewel. But, I guess I said all that to say Halle could use a little work a little work, here and there BUT... HOWEVER... bring me the head of any A-line actress that has not been in a few stinkers. You can't blame Halle for some of that mess. Lordy lordy, devils work shop, yipes, have mercy on my soul - you say, but let me leave you with this: I wouldn't kick the woman out of my bed and she can act! We will stay divided on this one *Big Smile*. BTW, "There Eyes were Watching" was TERRI-HORRI-BLE. They jacked the mess out of that book. Did anybody read the script or the book before they filmed that scandalous affair?

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 5:25 PM

    @CareyCarey - "Let's be real, there are plenty of light skin sistas who will show a little skin when a role calls for it. 'They' didn't get to Halle's status." and "So what do you two assume is the basis behind her success?" - It's funny that I never really think of her a light-skinned... Well CC, Halle appealed/s to White males, period. She had the American "girl next door face" (pretty not sexy), a bangin' body (a true hourglass which Hollywood and Madison Avenue women are trying their darnest to convince all men in America is not attractive in favor of a boxy torso, no significant butt, breast implants and rail thin legs - winning!) yet she seemed too exotic to bring home to mom and dad, therefore she is that one-night stand they'd love to have. That's it. Remember, she was a beauty queen. Please note her resume... there are films tailor-made for the "Lifetime" market in this country and then you have "Spike" worthy films. Halle's work, when not representing "blackness onscreen" focuses more on the "Black market" AND the "mainstream" male market with Spike TV-ish films - Bond, Swordfish, X-Men, etc.... When they tried the whole "female empowerment" thing, Catwoman, that tanked (for a number of reasons, but it tanked nonetheless). That's my sense. Also, inter-personally, she is excellent navigating the behind the scenes... I get this. Very cool in that way.

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 4:52 PM

    @CareyCarey... now you know you're just startin' trouble. Yes, I saw... I survived. Mind you, I love that chick, but did ya' see everything else she's done? She was a HORRIBLE crackhead (add that statement to "Phrases I never thought I'd piece my words together to say") now Chris Rock...that's a gift... Did you see "Queen" (mercy), "B.A.P.S" (lawd), Bulworth, every horrible X-Men, "Monster's Ball" (demonic), The Rich Man's Wife (horrible, horrible!), "There Eyes were Watching... ", "Catwoman" (yipes) and my personal non-favorite Oprah Winfrey's "The Wedding" (I have no words)... there are more, I tell you... more, but I just can't deny, THOUGH I LOVE HER AND TRY TO SUPPORT HER, that Halle "don't be knowin' how to act". Her best work, imo was Introducing Dorothy Dandridge...ummm... and that's about it. I'm sorry...I feel like she needs to start from scratch... I don't feel like she's done improv or something... she's missing something very basic in her acting - almost an inability to connect with people which seems evident in how she appears to "pretend" to be a character as opposed to embodying the life of the character... I'm not giving up on her and as she matures, I'm noticing a lack of anxiety in her work that makes her, at least, appear more seasoned.

  • Roberto | March 10, 2012 11:38 AM

    i agree wholeheartedly Halle was great in Things We Lost in the Fire she deserved an oscar nod for that film, and although the movie was not great she acted very well in Frankie &Alice. I think she's a great and deserved her oscar, and i can't wait to see Cloud Atlas either.

  • Monique | March 10, 2012 10:40 AMReply

    I agree that Halle is overrated. I will believe to my dying day that she got that Oscar bec the Academy knew it was way past to to give a black actress the award, so they gave it to the fair skinned beauty who had shown the world what she had to offer in an explicit scene with Billy Bob Thorton.

  • Monique A. Williams | March 10, 2012 10:14 AMReply

    I haven't seen a Halle Berry performance I enjoyed in years. I think she's overrated.

  • Jean | March 11, 2012 1:04 PM

    I was time for a black woman to get the oscar...she is not a good actress

  • Nadine | March 10, 2012 10:21 AM

    You are so right. I just happened to watch Boomerang the other night... she was just sooo out classed by her cast mates. It always seems like she is "acting".

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