Dead Calm is a psychological thriller-horror film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, and Billy Zane that was released in 1989 in Australia. After Orson Welles struggled for years to complete his film based on the novel, The Deep, the screenplay by Terry Hayes was based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Williams; the film represents the first successful film adaptation of the novel after Orson Welles struggled for years to complete his film based on it.
The plot revolves around a married couple who, following the devastating loss of their son, are spending some time secluded at sea when they come across a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship.
Nicole Kidman worked on the film as one of her final efforts in Australia before gaining massive international success with Days of Thunder in 1990.
Dead Calm received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising Neill, Kidman, and Zane’s performances as well as the film’s oceanic cinematography, however, some reviewers faulted the storyline for being too spectacular and the film’s ending for being too extravagant. It has received even more positive reviews in recent years, with The New York Times ranking it one of the 1000 finest films ever created.
The film is based on Charles Williams’ novel Dead Calm, for which Orson Welles began filming an adaptation titled The Deep starring himself, Jeanne Moreau, and Laurence Harvey in the late 1960s but never finished.
In Australia, Dead Calm earned $2,444,407 at the box office, which is equal to $4,253,268 in 2009 currency. It earned $7,825,009 in the United States.
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