My wife and I went up to the Village last night for a movie. The only thing playing right now that I haven't seen is SANCTUM, the James-Cameron-produced extreme cave diving thriller. I've been hearing bad critical word on the film, so I wasn't terribly excited, but I try to get to an Alamo once a week just to check on things. Check out Rotten Tomatoes. SANCTUM has a 30% approval rating. That certainly did not raise my expectations.
The movie begins and within a dozen or so syllables into the script warning bells are sounding loudly thanks to a super clunky script and an unusually awkward performance by Ioan Gruffudd. He seems to be pouring every ounce of his acting energy into beating his English accent into submission to bring a voice to his American billionaire financier character. Nothing was left in the acting well for any semblance of nuance to the role. Things were looking grim.
About ten minutes into the film, however, the action kicks in and my enjoyment level skyrockets. The rest of the film is a nonstop hundred-minute roller coaster ride with really great tension, action, thrills, chills and bloody death. I had a GREAT time watching this movie.
SANCTUM isn't going to win any script or acting awards by a long shot, but it points to the problem of judging movies by one single scale. The script and Ioan Gruffudd's acting are certainly in the 30% range or below, but I haven't had as much fun watching an adventure movie in a long, long time. On the fun index, it ranks about a 90%.
BLACK SWAN was my favorite movie of 2010. That said, all the movies I love don't have to be a powerful work of art. The creators of SANCTUM set out to entertain me, to put me in the middle of a very realistic, claustrophobic nightmare. There is and there will always be a very warm spot in my heart for movies like SANCTUM: big, exciting edge-of-your seat escapism. If that's your cup of tea, then don't let the highbrow critical world turn you away. Go see SANCTUM. See it soon, though, because it is not going to be in theaters long!