Sunday 20 August 2017

The Odyssey (film review)

The Odyssey follows the early career of Jacques Cousteau, the famous French oceonographer, film maker and conservationist. It starts at the period of his life, when still in the French Navy, he became more and more interested in underwater photography and research. His early films were financed by an oil company, which believed that Cousteau's work could help them find new oil reserves, he then went on to make films for a US TV station and after that he founded, with his sons (Phillipe and Jean-Michel), The Cousteau Society, which protects marine life and is involved in environmental education.

The film features some wonderful underwater footage, most impressively Phillippe Cousteau's encounter with sharks. These scenes alone make the film worth watching. However, the film is less satisfying in terms of narrative. I got the feeling that there is too much story in even a relatively short period of Cousteau's life and work for one film and so both his biography and career often feel as they are being skated over, plus often it feels unfocussed.

I felt the best part of the film was the way it handled the overarching story arc of Cousteau's transformation from enthusiast in the pocket of the oil company to passionate environmental activist (a role he was encouraged in by his son Phillipe).

The Odyssey is showing at Edinburgh Filmhouse until Thursday 24 August.


Jamie Purves said...

The undersea world of Jack Cousteau was landmark TV of the 1970s and opened peoples's eyes to conservation of the oceans. Trailblazing stuff before David Attenborough got into his stride!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

sounds like an interesting film - I used to really enjoy seeing Jacques Cousteau's amazing underwater shows.
Hope you are enjoying the week

Magyar said...

__ Long ago, I became enthralled by the Jacques Cousteau productions here, on TV, and further, by the progresses of sons Phillipe and Jean, after Jacques demise and passing in 1996. Time now to regenerate my interest in his worldly society. _m