Black Coral has some good underwater shots and it made an effort to reenact stories by divers. It’s told entirely from their point of view through informal interviews. You can tell that these men are hardened and scarred by a specific way of living.
While Black Coral is an earnest film its also a tedious and meandering documentary.
Black Coral goes into different tangents separated into chapters. The documentary interviewed a number of people, but the viewer is given no clue as to who they are and why you need to listen, especially for the fact that they said it isn’t about the money but the thrill of it.
So this begs the question, why should you care about a whole bunch of divers who do a job knowing full well what the dangers are, just like any other people with dangerous jobs?
One interviewee said that diving for black coral put him through medical school, but this moment is a flicker of insight that’s ignored and gets lost in a sea of multiple voices.
All this, combined with a repetitive format, makes it very hard to stay awake.
If you aren’t a deep-sea diver, you’ll slog your way through the whole thing. If you are, it’s difficult to sustain interest unless you’re a Black Coral diver yourself or personally know the people being interviewed.
Black Coral is an earnest documentary, but its good intentions are lost in a missing narrative and indistinguishable voices. At best it’s a collection of cautionary tales for people who are engaged in deep-sea diving for black coral.
Black Coral is a meandering tale about the dangers of deep-sea diving with no relatable people to anchor its story.