A still from Into the Deep by Emma Sullivan, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
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‘Into the Deep’ (Photo credit: Sundance Film Festival).
Australian writer-director Emma Sullivan’s true-crime documentary Into the Deep has been praised as more chilling than some of the horror movies which screened in the Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight section.
Commissioned by Netflix and produced by Denmark’s Mette Heide and Aussie Roslyn Walker, the film premiered in the world cinema documentary competition at Sundance.
Sullivan was filming Danish inventor and rocket engineer Peter Madsen for a doco on his space lab when events took a shocking turn.
On August 10 2017 he brutally murdered Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his homemade submarine in the waterways outside Copenhagen. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Among the first reviews, Vanyaland’s Nick Johnston lauded the extensive and genuinely stunning footage that the documentarian filmed over the course of two years, both before the murder and in its immediate aftermath.
“It is a tremendous work, one more bone-chilling than any number of features playing in the Midnight lineup this year at Sundance,” he said.
“Into the Deep is a unique beast in a documentary landscape that’s more consumed than ever with the true-crime genre and is a must-watch for anyone even slightly curious about the events of this bizarre and tragic crime.”
Variety’s Amy Nicholson found the film “restrained, humanist and chilling, both a portrait of evil and a story of the workers left ashore floundering to understand how they devoted their lives to a fiend.”
Birth.Movies.Death.com’s Ed Travis said: “Emma Sullivan has a major accomplishment under her belt with Into The Deep. In some ways, it’s likely a documentarian’s dream for a subject to morph into a headline-grabbing subject entirely out of their control.
“Sullivan’s stroke of genius is in her assembly. With the date of the disappearance as our mooring, the film jumps back and forth in time, chronicling at first the confusion, and then the dismay, of Madsen’s co-workers (who are really the eyes through which we observe this film)… and then taking us back to ‘before’ when an Elon Musk-like figure is leading a bunch of idealistic engineers in a quest to launch an amateur rocket into space.
“The contrast is so disorienting. The nerves are so raw. The dreams feel pure and whimsical before, and naive and soul crushing after.”
Netflix has yet to set a premiere date for the film, Sullivan’s first feature-length doc, which was developed with Film Victoria’s support.