Styx (Wolfgang Fischer, 2018) Germany/USA

Reviewed by Carlie Klein. Viewed at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

STYX is the moving thriller following Rike, a European emergency response doctor, and her journey to Ascencion Isle in the south Atlantic sea. Rike portrays the perfect model of a 21st century woman, who is strong, driven, and individualistic, while also showing an immense amount of compassion for humans around her.

The film was shown in the Chinese Theatre, as one of the latest showings of the day. The smaller nature of the theatre made it very intimate for the audience.

The film starts with a car crash scene, which introduces the audience to the calm, collected female lead as she saves the life of a man critically injured. The intese scene serves as a heavy contrast to the tranquil feel of Rike preparing for her journey by loading her personal sailboat before departing at dawn. After surviving an intense storm, lasting through the night, she awakens to see a fishing trolley stagnant in the water, overflowing with passengers. After repeated attempts to the coast guard to intervene, she realizes after some time that these cries for help will go unaddressed, unless she acts. This forces her to make many difficult decisions, one after another putting her own life at risk.

The most striking part of this movie was the beautiful angles the camera captures on her journey. From the opening scene on, the film uses incredibly close-angle shots to make the audience feel as if they are truly on the boat themselves, witnessing Rike’s story. The difficulty of this feat must have been immense, as it is clear the actors and crew are truly out in the open ocean.

The movie draws comparisons to Captain Phillips, with Susanne Wolff’s acting rivaling Tom Hanks’ ability to help the audience empathize with the sheer mountainous scale of roadblocks the main character faces. The final scene of Captain Phillips captured in the Somalian pirates’ boat, as SEAL teams negotiate his safe return echos the same intensity of Rike attempting to aid the refugees lost at sea.

This film induces mixed feelings of love and admiration for the main character, while also inducing rage at her decisions that put her entire future at risk. Her actions are always of good nature, putting the needs of others before her own. The movie has viewers at the edge of their seat, never knowing what will happen next, which serves as a nice change from many other movie’s predictable outcomes.

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