review for The Deep on AllMovie

The Deep (1977)
by Jeremy Wheeler review

Initially thought of as a quick cash-in after the immense success of Jaws, The Deep is actually a fun little adventure flick of its own that benefits from its connections to Steven Spielberg's classic tale of coastal horror. Complimented by a superb cast, the film marked the big-screen-starring debut of Nick Nolte, who handles the '70s hero role with a youthful vigor that's exciting to go back and revisit. Of course, most remember The Deep for Jacqueline Bisset's stunning opening diving scene, though it's really Jaws alumni Robert Shaw that keeps the film constantly moving. In one of his last roles before his untimely death, Shaw gives a compelling performance that demands one's attention anytime he appears onscreen. Additionally, Louis Gossett Jr. sustains a formidable presence as the film's villain, giving the character a quiet maniacal edge in his brief string of scenes. As far as director Peter Yates goes, his underwater scenes are lush with brilliant color, while his action creates nice jolts of suspense in such moments as an edge-of-your-seat shark feeding frenzy, as well as the hand-to-hand brawl that's highlighted by an outboard motor being hefted as a weapon! Eli Wallach supplies ample supporting talent to the piece, as does John Barry, whose sweeping score accents the film's romantic treasure-hunt vibe.