The influential German filmmaker has a celebrated filmography, including the emblematic Paris, Texas (1984) and the award-winning documentary Buena Vista Social Club (1999). In line with his usual deeply humane exploration style, his latest film, Submergence, appears to follow the thematic elements of love for which Wenders is recognised.
Starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander in the lead role, the film focuses on two lovers, Danielle and James, who are forced apart by fate. They meet by chance in a remote hotel in France as they both prepare for a perilous mission. Despite their initial hesitation, they inevitably fall in love. When they have to separate, we find out that James works for the British Secret Service. He’s involved in a mission in Somalia to track down a source for suicide bombers infiltrating Europe, where he is taken hostage by Jihadist fighters. Danielle is a bio-mathematician working on a deep sea diving project to support her theory about the origin of life on our planet.
As alluded towards in the title, the aesthetics of the film adheres to the deep water imagery, with wide shots capturing the scope and scale of the on-set locations.Based on the novel by J.M. Ledgard, of the same name, the central essence appears to rely heavily upon the chemistry of the two actors. Comparable to Vikander’s work with her now husband, Michael Fassbinder, in The Light Between Oceans (Derek Cianfrance, 2016), the actress is continually cast as going toe to toe with notable male stars, further emphasised in Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015).
From its early trailer, Wenders’s new film does not seem as if it will hit the heights of his earlier work. Still, one must revel in the fact the filmmaker is still working productively in contemporary film. Submergence is out in cinemas worldwide on Friday, May 18th. Stay tuned for our dirty review of the film.