‘Playing With Sharks’ Review: Intrepid Journeys Undersea
The documentary “Playing with Sharks” celebrates the life of diver Valerie Taylor, who dedicated her career to marine photography and conservation. The film (on Disney +) delves into Valerie’s work with sharks, which she and her husband Ron Taylor captured in a mine of close-range underwater footage.
Young woman, Valérie was a spearfishing champion in Australia. But she quickly gave up the sport in favor of less disruptive underwater activities. Alongside Ron, Valerie began capturing remarkable ocean images: mole eels, rippling squid, a thrill of sharks munching on a whale carcass. The Taylors were the first to shoot great whites from open water without the shelter of a cage, and the couple’s confidence in intimidating creatures (or maybe just their daring) made them master videographers of the ocean reefs.
The documentary, directed by Sally Aitken, draws heavily on underwater footage taken by Ron and others. Aitken intersects this footage with archival footage of Valerie’s shredder efforts as a shark advocate. Horrified by what she saw as a collective misunderstanding of a majestic animal, Valérie made it her mission to show that sharks – while demanding caution – have personalities and respond skillfully to training, like sharks. dogs.
But while Valerie’s compassion for sharks is contagious, Aitken insists on a tense mood, with a suspenseful score and a baffling montage straight out of a man-against-beast blockbuster. “Playing With Sharks” would like to position Valérie as both a fearless diver and a valiant activist, but with an emphasis on thrills and gills, the film sheds light on the context necessary to reconcile these two identities. Are we supposed to back down from sharks or take care of them? Probably some of both, but the documentary looks uncertain.
Playing with sharks
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch on Disney +.
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