Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy (Mimi De Gruy, 2019): USA

Reviewed by Jackson Davis. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Diving Deep opened Santa Barbara’s 2019 Film Festival to a packed theater with an audience full of those who knew Mike personally. Mimi deGruy, wife of Mike deGruy, had spent years working alongside her husband wanting to share his legacy as a filmmaker and spread his story and his passion, directed and produced Diving Deep.

The film is almost entirely composed of shots deGruy took himself. Despite being a mere 81 minutes, the film does an excellent job of covering the spectrum of deGruy’s activities, from his numerous education and intriguing TV shows, complete with breathtaking underwater footage, to his environmentalist stance, testifying to the dangers that pollution poses to the underwater ecosystem. Diving Deep includes numerous interviews from deGruy himself, his wife, his past film crews and even David Attenborough and James Cameron, each allowing a  deeper dive into Mike’s obsession with the ocean and their experience with the man.

One of the major points of the film is deGruy’s reaction and response to the 2012 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Shortly before his death, he had set out to make a documentary about the spill and its impacts on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the negative effects of the dispersants used in the aftermath of the spill. Clips were shown of deGruy’s experiments with the dispersants, many of which were reminiscent of his previous educational shows such as The Octopus Show. However, some of the footage shows a very different deGruy: one full of rage, in contrast from the passionate and curious filmmaker we had previously seen. It was very moving to see a man, always so fascinated and curious, forced defend what he loves to the lengths he did. deGruy calling for everyone to find something worth fixing, and fix it , showed his tremendous belief in the ability of an individual to make a positive change in the community, and to make this world a better place for all of us.

 

 

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