The Sea Inside (2004)

November 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

For those of you who were a little alarmed by Javier Bardem as the killer in No Country for Old Men — so unstoppable he seemed like fate itself — here he is in an utterly different role.  He’s no less excellent as real-life quadriplegic Ramon Sampedro, who broke his neck as a young man when he dove into shallow water, spent the rest of his life bedridden and cared for by his family, and fought unsuccessfully to have the legal right to end his life, arguing that he no longer lived with dignity.

Regardless of your position on that particular argument, this is a great drama, with a supporting cast of well acted, interesting characters.  Sampedro wrote a book before passing away with the assistance of friends who agreed to help him along, so it appears the filmmakers had lots of material to work with.  It also appears he was a remarkably charming and intelligent man, and people tended to visit with reverence (though a sequence where he argues with a self-satisfied priest about the right to end your life is an exception to that).

The scene where he imagines himself able to fly out the window is near the middle of a film, and it’s a beautiful centrepiece to an otherwise solid, fairly straightforward but interesting drama.

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