Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It is not easy to access the most remote place on our planet still unknown to man - but the real difficulty is to get out alive
on 16 January 2013
The title of this excellent film is particularly well chosen, as "sanctum" means a secret place known only to few people and also a sacred or holy area. This film tells the story of a group of people who are forced by circumstances to enter such a place - and then try desperately to find a way out... This review contains some limited SPOILERS.
Produced by James Cameron this film contains some elements which remind of his own films: masterful use of lights and shadows, a predisposition for blue and gray, some very dramatic fast happening scenes. It was however directed by an Australian director, Alister Grierson, who made only one film before, "Kokoda" (a rather good war movie). With the exception of Ioan Gruffudd actors were unknown to me, but they all did an excellent job.
The story is relatively simple. A group of cave-divers is slowly and methodically exploring and mapping a HUGE complex of partially inundated caves in New Guinea. An unexpected development will force them to explore this place in depth (pun very much intentional) and on the double, taking enormous risks - and I am not saying anything more.
This film has absolutely NO supernatural elements - do not expect monsters, mysterious forces, etc. Everything is realistic, sometimes inspired by real problems met by speleologists and cave-divers in the real life - even if the accumulation of all those events during just one expedition is of course rather unlikely, but after all this is an adventure film...
The atmosphere of the place of action is absolutely unique. There are moments when I really had the impression that heroes entered a kind of grandiose heathen temple, immensely ancient and so holy that it was never meant to be seen by humans. And indeed, at moments there seems that there is a HIGH price to pay for discovering secrets and splendors which were not really meant for us. It can almost seem that those who entered there were not meant to leave - and this chtonic "inner sanctum" will show great reluctance to release those who violated its peace...
There are many excellent scenes in this film but none so tense and moving as the great finale, an absolutely unique thing different from anything else I saw on the screen. I was absolutely delighted with this film both in cinema and on Blu-ray (I warmly recommend to buy Blu-ray, as the visual aspect is important) and I am absolutely keeping it to re-watch it another time in the future. Enjoy!