Stream it or skip it?

This week on BOATS (Based on a true story) the theater is Without limits (now on Netflix), a French drama “inspired” by the life of Audrey Mestre, a record freediver who – well, the events of her life are widely known but not That widely known, so we will save it for the film. What you need to know to learn more: Freedivers compete to see who can hold their breath and go deeper into the ocean. No scuba gear, just your lungs. In particular, limitless diving sees the diver cling to a weighted sled attached to a rope and dive to a specific depth – well beyond 500 feet, if you’re looking for the record – then use a propulsion tank to bring them back to the surface. It puts a lot of pressure on your physical and mental faculties and creates reasonably intriguing drama, as we learn in this film.


The juice: Roxana (Camille Rowe) learned freediving from her grandfather. She is a little girl when we meet her; she dives beneath the surface; hey, she looks at her, a sea turtle; and suddenly she became an adult. He sits in the lecture hall, listening to his teacher speak in uber-dramatic tones about the creatures that live in the deepest dark depths of the ocean, where the pressure is so intense that it will crush your lungs and you will die immediately, this is our time for today. , have a good week! Roxana sees a flyer for a freediving course held by record diver Pascal Gauthier (Sofiane Zermani), argues with her mother (Roxana skipped therapy) and goes to the beach for the course.

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Meet one of the instructors, Tom (Cesar Domboy), who is a great guy, and there’s a little spark between them. On the boat, Pascal enters shirtless – there is no lack of confidence there, on any front. Tom invites Roxana to dinner with Pascal and the crew, and Pascal sits across the table and pokes holes in her with his gaze and gives off that kind of gooey vibe that makes you wonder if we should stroke her panties and find her. shark frenzy closer. She goes into the ladies room and he follows her into her and hey, how about hers, a few minutes later, the woman he came to the party with in a storm is gone in a whisper.

Pascal invites Roxana to come with the team for their next hike and leaves it to her grizzled coach Stephane (Laurent Fernandez) to tell her that Pascal is training for a world record dive of 172 meters today. No problem! He makes it, but the tragedy hits one of his safety divers does not emerge. They get the boy out and Roxane performs resuscitation but it’s too late. Which means there’s a job opening in the team and Roxana is inside her, despite her inexperience. She dived with Pascal, you see, and he knows she’s gifted with her: she can hold her breath and stay calm and she understands the economy of movement needed to be a great freediver.

It doesn’t take long for Roxana to drop out of college and travel around Europe with Pascal for competitions, first as part of the team, and then to compete herself. Pascal looks a little jealous, and then he looks even more jealous when he starts to faint while diving and can’t compete anymore. He goes on to train Roxane, who flies towards the notoriety of freediving. She breaks a record for a dive with the fin. She is called a sex symbol. She is in ecstasy with Pascal one night when he puts his hand around her throat and squeezes her a little. She is not involved. Maybe it’s not too late to get some friendship and a boat ride.

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What movies will it remind you of ?: Mix scripts for Into the blue, The Big Blue, That’s enough and – I don’t know, what is a movie about a dark sport? Balls of Fury? Dodgeball? Yup, DodgeballDodgeballand you will get a rough approximation of Without limits.

Performance to see: Rowe plays Roxana empathically, despite the script giving her little more than a quiff of character to work with.

Memorable dialogue: Stephane strengthens Roxane’s confidence: “Roxy. You don’t need him. You don’t need anyone. “

Gender and skin: Some medium to hard level sex scenes, each more sizzling and graphic than before.

Our outlet: Without limits reflects some broad traits of Mestre’s life, which has had its share of – how to say it without ruining anything – ambiguity. These ambiguities attract the charm of an otherwise boring film, with a mawkish tone and populated by fragile characters. There is little sense of Roxana’s passion for sport, her ambition or his love for Pascal, who projects his real, ugly, megalomaniac himself up there for all to see as a Bat-Signal. Our two protagonists each get a confessional monologue and multiple scenes where they dive into the inky darkness of the ocean – so many, including multiple dream sequences, that their repetition becomes boring and almost comical.

This is not to say that such images are not poetic. The muffled stillness and wide open spaces can inspire awe, wonder, fear and introspection. But screenwriter and director David M. Rosenthal’s penchant for dramatic underwater photography and semi-torrid sex scenes can’t make up for the film’s languid pace and dramatic helplessness. It often looks nice, but it’s a long, slow descent into mostly empty waters.

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Our call: JUMP. Without limits it exists in a nonexistent zone between sports drama and doomed romance.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work on

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