TALKING OF MEN IN TIGHT SPACES, the latest dive-related cinema release Pressure takes the camera so close to the actors' faces for much of the time that we have little choice but to share their pain.
And pain of one sort and another is what they experience through much of this film.
It’s a familiar format – take a bunch of professional misfits with enough emotional baggage and mutual resentments to sink a mothership, put them through the grinder in a confined space and see what comes out the other end.
In this case the confined space is a diving bell abandoned after a storm about 200m down in the Indian Ocean. Its four pressurised occupants are saturation divers who thought all they needed to do was a running repair to an oil pipeline.
There is the booze-raddled veteran with bone necrosis (played by the versatile Alan McKenna, who also co-produced the film and wrote the screenplay, though he didn’t write the theme music to my knowledge) and cynical hard man tormented by memories of a lost love Danny Huston.
We also meet the by-the-book team-leader (Matthew Goode) and a fresh-faced kid (Joe Cole) who has never dived beyond 30m. And who forgot to pack the survival suits?
The ultra-bass voiceover intoning something along the lines of “Men go to sea for many reasons…” at the start had me fearing the worst, but the script is mercifully light on clichés – just a couple of the “We’ve got a job to do” variety.
No reflection on the acting, but the characters never really engaged my sympathy. I was less concerned about their individual welfare than intrigued to see who’d be first to crack.
This is no feel-good movie, but thanks to that in-your-face camera-work and deafening soundtrack I quite enjoyed (in a masochistic way) being incarcerated with the crew and trying to work out how they would cope as the big contents gauge runs down.
You’d think not talking might help them to conserve air, but that never seems to be a consideration.
It’s a relief when the divers are able to get out of the bell every now and then to clomp about in their suits and helmets. And the underwater action isn’t restricted to clomping, thanks to the power of hallucination, but I won’t risk spoiling any surprises other than to say that there are some compelling diving sequences.
Some of the actors had done a bit of scuba-diving but they all had a day’s training at Pinewood Studios and did some of the stunts themselves, although most of the strain will have been on the highly experienced Pinewood diving team.
Pressure doesn’t break any new ground, and it certainly won’t spearhead a recruitment drive for commercial divers, but it is a diverting way to spend an hour and a half.
Steve Weinman

Pinewood Pictures
Starring Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, Joe Cole, Alan McKenna & Daisy Lowe
91min, in cinemas from 21 August 2015
DVD out 31 August, £12.99