“I’ve always been fascinated by survival films, they have a pure cinematic force”: Maximilian Erlenwein on The Dive
The Dive, from German director Maximilian Erlenwein, follows sisters May (Louisa Krause) and Drew (Sophie Lowe), who meet for their yearly diving trip. Tensions between the pair are already bubbling beneath the surface when they set out, but their resilience and sisterly bond is put to the ultimate test when a rockfall causes May’s leg to get stuck and Drew must do all she can to save her before their air runs out.
Channeling the best of survival thrillers, from 127 Hours to 47 Meters Down to last year’s viral hit Fall, what makes The Dive stand out is its absolute dedication to detail and accuracy of diving, rooting the action in tangible circumstances. Erlenwein also cleverly punctuates the immersive underwater scenes with the stark brightness of the isolated cliffside location above water. The sense of claustrophobia and rising panic as air runs out keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and doesn’t let go until the closing credits, while the sisters’ tenacity and relationship give the story added depth
The Upcoming chatted with Erlenwein about both the thriller aspects and emotional undercurrents of the film. He shared how his background in diving inspired the project after being offered the script for a remake of the Swedish film Breaking Surface, and also how he watched numerous survival movies to understand the genre better. The director highlighted the challenge of creating a realistic underwater environment without relying on CGI, and the importance of his casting decisions, finding actors willing to put in the work to pull off genuine underwater performances. We also discussed the significance of portraying female protagonists in a survival setting, allowing for relatability and a balance between realism and emotion.
The Dive is released in select cinemas on 25th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Dive here: