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Movie Review: Deep Water

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One of the enduring myths of Western culture is that of the amateur who triumphs against insurmountable obstacles. From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to Rocky II, it is a myth that has informed cinema for decades. Deep Water, a fantastic new documentary from Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell, reveals it for the absurd fantasy it is. The fate of the novice, when matched against the might of an uncaring universe, is typically oblivion. Osmond and Rothwell find this lesson writ large in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

In 1967, Francis Chichester became the first man to single-handedly sail around the world. Queen Elizabeth II would knight him for the effort using a sword once belonging to another British sailor of note, Sir Francis Drake. Chichester's journey sparked a frenzy in England and the Sunday Times offered a prize of £5000 to anyone who could circumnavigate the globe, with the caveat that they could not stop for repairs as Chichester did. The response to the challenge was immediate: nine brave men would undertake the lonely, dangerous journey.