Film Review: “Breath” (2017) ★★★


Fate or faith? The past or the future? Wrong or right choices? All these are the dilemmas of our life when at some point we can only choose one of them. Was it the correct one, there’s no way we know about it until we live that moment. “Breath”, directed by a first time director, Simon Baker, is based on Tim Winton’s award-winning and international best selling novel about life path and what to do when you enter it – skipping it or continuing towards an unpredictable outcome?

Set in mid-70s, the film begins with Bruce “Pikelet” Pike’s voice who begins narrating the story of his childhood, his friendship with Ivan “Loonie” Loon, their love for waves and an extraordinary bond they developed with an older surfer named Sando. As he navigates through his past, the slow-paced and character-driven “Breath” continues exploring the life of two friends and their place they find in life.

As soon as the movie opens, we meet Loonie and Pikelet who, like many other teenagers, try to catch up with the opportunities their young life offers. One of them, of course, is surfing they seem to enjoy but not a professional level though. When they meet Sando and his wife Eva, the life of Loonie and Pikelet changes. As they start maturing with every single scene, their mindset also changes based on circumstances. For instance, while Loonie is getting closer and closer to Sando, it’s Bruce who starts hesitating through the fears he had.

Pikelet, of course, is not a coward or anything and he is always happy to conquer one wave after another, but it’s the precautions he thinks about more and that’s why while Loonie is being introduced to a new trick of surfing while Bruce gets to know Eva in a life-changing way. But of course all these would not happen if not for our narrator who slowly introduces us to why and how Sando’s appearance in his life helps him to become someone more than he would get to become if they had not met each other.

Simon Baker picks quite a life-absorbing subject matter to direct for his first feature film. Set in Australia, the beautiful scenery, beaches and surfing helps him to shape the story of Bruce and Loonie in a profound way. As you watch it, there’s not much happening, yet enough to get engaged completely. In the end, as “Breath” tries exploring a friendship, it’s also about life choices and how important it is not to step down from the chosen path. Because one little hesitation is enough to lose one’s breath and with it, life itself.

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