Josiah Simpson, Mitchel Viernes
Loss, grief, and depression often make for the best stories. Stories of hardship may be tales most of us wish upon nobody, but most everyone can at least relate and are familiar with those debilitating emotions - making such stories vehicles of power for the storyteller. Done correctly, a filmmaker can take their audience down a dark depressing path that can link viewers to the characters within a story - but the best part of all? Should a story choose to do so, the redemption of a character or characters, or even the smallest glimmer of hope, can skyrocket the emotions of an audience to ridiculous levels. The highs are so much higher once you experience the lowest of lows. Let me write this reader, "Water Like Fire" brings its characters and viewers about as low as you can get before it's done - but that hopeful glimmer and point of redemption are all the sweeter for doing so.
In this film, Chanel is your typical young woman working to survive within a world that has been anything but easy. Both her parents have died and her brother, having had personal issues before the death of his parents, has spiraled completely out of control. Chanel, like so many real-world individuals, has been waiting for her brother to reach rock-bottom for a long time... with the hopes that would be his wake up call to clean himself up and start living his life. However, Caleb, Chanel's brother, just seems to be slipping further and further away and in the process, the two have become somewhat estranged. Thankfully, Chanel has the water to comfort her and it's clear that surfing is one of the main things she uses to destress.
As the film progresses, Caleb ends up in the hospital after being struck down by a van. Immediately Chanel is by his side - half expecting the worst but hoping for the best and even now, she is being warned not to let her brother destroy her life as he has done with his own. Eventually, Caleb does recover somewhat but his future is still quite unsure. It's only when the unthinkable happens that he really decides to make a go at finally living his life. I may have glossed over some of the finer points of this film, and most definitely left a lot out... but that's only because quite frankly, you should see this film for yourself. The timing of this movie for me, couldn't have been any better for it to achieve maximum effect but honestly, "Water Like Fire" hits all the right marks and for anyone who enjoys a good drama, do yourself a favor and look this movie up.
First off, I would simply like to write that this film looks and sounds fantastic. "Water Like Fire" may be a lower-budget film but certainly doesn't look the part. Some excellent, but not over-done cinematography, along with crisp dialog and a nicely utilized score easily make this film feel so much bigger than it probably was. Featuring a well-written story and some excellent direction, it's really no surprise this film flowed as nicely as it did.
I also want to give a shout out to the cast because honestly, I had hoped for performances that were at least passable - and ended up with some truly excellent portrayals. Taiana Tully as the leading lady far surpassed my expectations but truth be told, I can think of nobody who felt awkward or out of place in this flick. Never mind that a leading lady simply has to be excellent, when you also have a supporting cast talented enough to lead a scene themselves, there's not much a director can't accomplish. All around, to the cast and crew, well done.
At the end of the day? "Water Like Fire" will definitely entertain fans of the genre, but more importantly, even if you're more of an action or comedy type person, I would bet you'll still get sucked into this particular film. It's one of those movies that just works on multiple levels. I would, and will, definitely recommend this film to anyone who asks and in my humble opinion, "Water Like Fire" earns each and every star. Four and a half out of five.