This is a brilliant British movie from 1976 about a teenaged boy, Jonathan, without a father who is identified with the sea, restless, full of emotion and untameable. He is confused and frustrated as most adolescents are, desperate to move into the exciting life of an adult and find his own way, discover who he really is.
This is a brilliant British movie from 1976 about a teenaged boy, Jonathan, without a father who is identified with the sea, restless, full of emotion and untameable. He is confused and frustrated as most adolescents are, desperate to move into the exciting life of an adult and find his own way, discover who he really is. Still suffering fro the traumatic loss of his father, he has developed a very unhealthy oedipal fascination with his mother Anne (Sarah Miles).
Anne meets a charismatic American sailor, Jim (played by Kris Kristofferson) and falls very deeply in love with him. At first, Jonathan is mesmerised by Jim and looks up to him as a new role model and replacement father figure but as Jim and Anne become more and more involved with each other, Jonathan’s repressed desires turn to anger and a desire to destroy the relationship and he turns to the sadistic and nihilistic leader of a small gang that he has entered, Chief, to aid him in his dark and disturbing quest.
Adapted from a novel by controversial Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea is a powerful and emotional tale, never spelling out it’s themes too directly but allowing the viewer to place their own interpretation on events. The descent of the children into a strange insanity is portrayed in a series of graphic and hard to watch sequences, including the mutilation and dissection of a cat as part of a lecture on existence, and these scenes of horror are beautifully counterpointed by the 100% believable and sexual relationship between Anne and Jim. Laced with metaphor and poetic imagery, the script, adapted by the director Lewis John Carlino makes the sea itself almost an extra character and the cinematography offers views of the Devon location that are breathtakingly beautiful in their own right yet never fail to serve the script’s intentions.
The cast are just excellent. Both Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson excel in their roles and Jonathan Khan as the tortured and confused Jonathan is stunning, one of those rare child actors who can be totally believable. This is an intelligent and artful film, one that doesn’t talk down to the audience for a moment. Definitely one to see, I cannot praise it highly enough.