Drama/Romance, 1 hr 31 min
Log line: How Deep Would You Go?
a story about an individual’s complete immersion into life
The word submerge means to immerse oneself into something completely. To be viscerally surrounded on all sides by it. The film Submerge is a story about an individual’s complete immersion into life. Whether it’s an indulgent journey, gratifying and eye opening, or rather a destructive spiral into a black hole devoid of light, is explored with gritty rawness by the talented Australian pairing of Kat Holmes and Sophie O’Connor in their first full length feature film.
At first glance Jordan, played with a clever duality of both innocence and a sexual awakening of the -thrown in at the deep end variety- by actress Lily Hall, seems to have it all. A happy go lucky twenty something, liked by all, with a coveted athletic swimming spot training for the Olympics and at the top of her game and also attending University at the same time and doing well. But, as many people have experienced, the old adage of you can’t have it all seems to ring true as we are witness to Jordan’s increasing sense of feeling overwhelmed with the high pressure placed on her by both her mother (Kath Gordon) and also, it increasingly becomes apparent, herself.
The first sign of the tension in Jordan’s over scheduled life appears in the strain between Jordan and her mother. As events unfold, we are witness to the fact that Jordan’s mother is in fact living her life vicariously through her daughter and Jordan appears to feel the increasing pressure of pleasing a parent rather than following her own coveted dreams. This is coupled with an infatuation with her University professor’s wife Angie (Christina Hallett) turning sour and the water in the pressure pot well and truly boils over for Jordan as she begins to spiral into a world she had previously not experienced to help cope with pressures that she simply cannot deal with. Partying, drugs and sex are prolific as we are literally Submerged into Jordan’s world.
There’s seemingly a dual statement here by Holmes and O’Connor on both the trend to underrate academic endeavours over sport in Australia and also that with the ever increasing freedoms to be who we want to be in terms of our sexuality, which has an ambiguous fluidity to it in a generation not wanting to label themselves, there is still a stigma and pressure for people to be straight, conform and be ‘normal’ in our societies. We see both Angie and Jordan struggling with their respective rapidly evolving sexual identities and are witness to the damage people can procure onto themselves when trying to repress their innermost wants.
The price of dreams, needs and wants not being allowed or fully realised in the Y generation, where there is almost too much choice presented on a platter of sorts, is explored in determined abandon in Submerge. We are witness to Jordan’s ever-increasing destructive behaviour as she not only explores the boundaries of her own desires but also seemingly punishes herself in ever increasingly disturbing ways. Submerge had me feeling uncomfortable at various points and slightly disturbed by certain scenes, however that’s the point I suppose, regardless of whether a film is enjoyed, but rather that it makes us feel something, turn something around in the light and think more deeply about it. Maybe we are even led to reevaluate if indeed our own true desires are being met and if we are, willingly or unwillingly, truly submerged into our own life.
Watch the trailer
This review was written by:
Reviewer and Writer
Alex has worked as a film stills photographer, written stories for a museum promotion campaign and has had her work featured on the cover of an Australian based lesbian magazine. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on film, writing and photography from Perth's Edith Cowan University.
She is currently working on a documentary project centred on lesbian refugee women’s experiences, combining her love of documentary film, photography and her current role as an occupational therapist. All in all, she is passionate about film, especially lesbian-made and themed films.