What starts as a routine maintenance dive on an underwater North Sea oil well structure, becomes a traumatic race of hope to save the life of a valued team member. Emotional recollections of Chris’ friends and colleagues show how the close knit ‘family’ of North Sea divers is a remarkably significant factor in their determination to believe in a positive outcome, despite all the odds.
The story of this feature documentary is told through first-hand accounts of Chris Lemons’ workmates who were directly involved in this incredible event, and the tense and life threatening atmosphere is keenly felt, thanks to archive footage of the time, spliced with stunning underwater reconstructions. Directors and editors, Richard Da Costa and Alex Parkinson, should be credited here for creating the palpable tension and build up of this true life drama.
We have an idea of what’s coming, but are still riveted to the screen as we watch the small team of divers prepare and execute their exacting and highly specialised work. The backdrop to Chris’ life on land intersperses the drama, and provides us with a picture of this warm, likeable man as we are immersed in his mysterious and claustrophobic world of saturation diving.
It’s no spoiler to say that Chris survives, but the unfolding story is nonetheless nail-biting for knowing this. The entire documentary is both heartwarming and frightening, with the build up to this dramatic fight for survival incredibly watchable. This film reminds us not to underestimate the astonishing potential of the human body and spirit.