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May 6, 2015

Movie Review: Diving Normal (2013)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Directed by Kristjan Thor

Based on a play, Diving Normal is a most unusual love story. Set in New York City, graphic novelist Fulton (Philipp Karner) falls for the beautiful blonde Dana (Susie Abromeit). For while, their romance blossoms, but Fulton’s neighbor Gordon (Scotty Crowe) begins to make awkward overtures to Dana. Verging on the autistic, Gordon begins to invite Dana on a series of strictly platonic dates, which consists of her watching him make high dives at the local gym. Things proceed awkwardly until Dana finds out the exact relationship between Gordon and Fulton. Dana falls back into her former patterns of substance abuse, until the men offer their own style of intervention.

Diving Normal is a very difficult film to analyze. It’s questionable that Dana would be seen with Gordon, as his character’s elevator doesn’t appear to go all the way to the top floor. Very quiet and reticent, Gordon’s character is on a tentative relationship with reality in general, let alone a gorgeous blonde. While dealing with a host of important issues, Diving Normal wisely – if unsatisfactorily offers no solutions. The audience is left in a bit of a lurch.

Both Karner and Crowe reprise their roles from the long-running stage play. “Based on a play by Fulbright Award Winner Ashlin Halfnight, Diving Normal explores loyalty among friends and lovers, as well as the heartbreaking struggle of becoming an adult,” reads the film’s official release.

Diving Normal is director Kristjan Thor’s first feature film. “His wildly successful immersive fear experience, Blackout, is now running both in New York and Los Angeles and was named ‘the extreme theater event of the year’ by the New York Times.”

While technically adept in the leap to motion pictures … Diving Normal left this reviewer thinking that he was missing something. Viewers should come to this film with an open mind. The official Web site for the film can be found here.

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