Dir. James Cameron. 1989, 140 mins. 35mm. With Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn. A team of oil-rig workers descend to the depths of the ocean floor to recover a lost nuclear submarine—and discover more than they bargained for in the form of alien creatures who may or may not be friendly. Shot largely under 7.5 million gallons of water in an abandoned nuclear power plant, James Cameron’s dazzlingly ambitious deep-sea thriller deftly balances eerily beautiful special effects with gut-wrenching human drama. The result is a surprisingly poignant, personal work of authorial vision in the guise of a big-budget blockbuster.
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