Review of 'The Deepest Breath'

the_deepest_breath.jpg Not for the faint hearted, “The Deepest Breath” is set in the world of “free-diving” where participants seek to dive as deep as possible unaided, that is, no oxygen or diving masks. The story follows the lives of world champion free-diver Alessia Zecchini and former free-diver, then safety diver and trainer Stephen Keenan. Zecchini showed a great passion for the sport even before it was legal for her to compete, diving to unheard of depths at a very young age while Keenan fell in love with the sport when travelling in Africa, resulting in his establishing a school at Dahab, Egypt, site of the famous diving site the “Blue Hole”. The film shows in harrowing detail the often fatal consequences of competitors pushing themselves beyond their limits but it also manages to show the allure and passion of these divers in their efforts in some beautiful locations. The lives of Zecchini and Keenan would intertwine initially with love then, ultimately, tragedy.

A disturbing yet captivating story that captures the nature of the extreme sport of free-diving with some stunning footage of diving destinations and underwater, particularly of the competitions “Blue Hole” and the prestigious “Vertical Blue” in the Bahamas (there is some footage here that is re-enacted but that is not from diving). It is a film that has an overwhelming sense of tragedy that ultimately unfolds before us, the inevitable outcome for such dare-devils. A world that I know not a lot about but it is fascinating to see how it all works and how incredible some of these divers are…still not interested in giving it a go though!

Incredible to watch, sort of like watching a train wreck unfolding in slow motion as it inevitably leads to tragedy. “The Deepest Breath” does tend to be a bit slow going and feels a bit repetitive before leading to the incredible finale.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2023-08-20

Directed by: Laura McGann

Studio: A24

Year: 2023

Length: 108 minutes

Genre: Documentary