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“A Work Of Pure Mastery”: The First Reviews For Malta’s Thriller ‘The Boat’ Are In, And It Looks Like The Hype Was Real

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Hype surrounding the much-awaited Maltese nautical thriller The Boat has been plentiful over the last couple of months, coming to a climax earlier this month when the film’s first trailer finally dropped. Now, following its official premiere last weekend, the first reviews are in… and boy are they positive.

Debuting at the prestigious Fantastic Fest in Texas on Saturday night, The Boat seems to have impressed multiple critics over the weekend, with everything from the plot to the music receiving generous amounts of praise.

Here are some of the awesome compliments that critics showered The Boat with.

1. People fell in love with how the thriller took cues from previous genre classics but made something magically original

“While it reminds favorably of those two fantastic films (1989’s Dead Calm and 2013’s All Is Lost), though, The Boat is wholly its own creation marrying survival against the odds with horror of the unknown in sequences that ultimately terrify, captivate, energize, and stress the the hell out of viewers,” Rob Hunter from Film School Rejects said of the Maltese thriller.

2. And the shift in tone definitely helped to convey that message

“I found the soothing scenery, soft colors, spare soundtrack and naturalistic sound design kept me knocked off kilter,” Vibrant Visionaries‘ Heidi Bennett said. “I started the film relaxed. Bathing in the serene notion of following the journey of a handsome fisherman leaving a picturesque seaside port for a day of fishing.”

“As the film progressed, my jaw tightened as each mystery and challenge befell our hero. Similarly the cinematography gave me the sense that I was right there sharing expansive, lovely views of the ocean, then experiencing life-threatening obstacles along with our protagonist.”

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3. People also loved how the film did not falter considering the tiny cast

“Films featuring a single character aren’t common, and rarer still are the great ones, but The Boat sails quickly towards the top of the list,” Rob Hunter said.

4. And it’s clearly thanks to the stellar performance by Joe Azzopardi

“He captivates through his calm and confidence, and on the strictly survival side of things, his knowledge and know-how work to inspire viewers towards even the smallest of cheer-worthy victories,” Hunter says of the protagonist, who is played by director Winston Azzopardi’s own son.

“It’s refreshing to see such a capable character undaunted by his increasing challenges, and while his frustrations grow they don’t turn him away from the task at hand.”

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5. One of The Boat’s biggest accomplishments was keeping the same nail-biting momentum for so long

As Rob Hunter explained, “at 100 minutes, a film like this could easily risk losing steam”. However, it looks like that was never an issue as far as the Azzopardis’s writing and directing is involved.

“The script keeps things moving forward with a taut efficiency. There’s never a dull moment as there’s never really a down moment.”

6. And the music definitely helped convey that

“The score by Lachlan Anderson finds its own beauty and rhythm as it matches the sea’s balance between the calm and aggressive, and it kicks into propulsive overdrive during the film’s more immediate thrills.”

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7. The Maltese thriller was recommended to lovers of the genre

“If you enjoy concise, thoughtful thrillers driven by logic with a ‘classic ghost story vibe’ and low gore factor, I think you’ll enjoy The Boat as much as I did,” Heidi Bennett said.

8. With some going even further, putting it amongst this year’s finest flicks

“The Boat is a work of pure mastery as it blends a tale of survival at sea with a growing sense of dread and mystery, and the resulting experience is a taut and thrilling adventure into the unknown,” Rob Hunter concludes his amazingly positive review.

“It ranks easily among the year’s best horror films, best adventure films, and best films period. Welcome aboard indeed.”

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READ NEXT: Maltese Thriller Gets International Distribution After Impressive Showing At Cannes Film Festival


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