The Abyss

The Abyss

There's everything you've ever known about adventure, and then there's The Abyss.

19892 h 19 min

A civilian oil rig crew is recruited to conduct a search and rescue effort when a nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks. One diver soon finds himself on a spectacular odyssey 25,000 feet below the ocean's surface where he confronts a mysterious force that has the power to change the world or destroy it.

Director James Cameron
Runtime 2 h 19 min
Release Date 9 August 1989
Movie Rating Very good

In 1988, the U.S. Ohio-class submarine USS Montana has an encounter with an unidentified submerged object and sinks near the Cayman Trough. With Soviet ships moving in to try to salvage the sub and a hurricane moving over the area, the U.S. government opts to send a SEAL team to Deep Core, a privately owned experimental underwater drilling platform near the Cayman Trough to use as a base of operations. The platform’s designer, Dr. Lindsey Brigman, insists on going along with the SEAL team, despite her estranged husband Virgil “Bud” Brigman being the current foreman.

During initial investigation of the Montana, a power outage in the team’s submersibles leads to Lindsey seeing a strange light circling the sub. At the same time, one of Deep Core’s crew, “Jammer,” damages his breathing apparatus in an apparent panic, and falls into a coma. This prompts the admiral in charge of the operation to send Lt. Coffey, the SEAL team leader, to take one of the mini-subs and recover a Trident missile warhead from the Montana, just as the storm hits above. Coffey does not get permission from the Deep Core crew. The Benthic Explorer, to which Deep Core is tethered, is rocked by the storm, and the cable crane is torn from the ship. The crane falls into the trench and, without the mini-sub to disconnect the cable, Deep Core is dragged toward the trench, stopping just short of it. The rig is partially flooded, killing several crew members and damaging its power systems. Coffey shows little remorse when he and his SEALs return to the damaged base.

Lindsey is sent in dive gear to retrieve some oxygen bottles from a damaged portion of the rig to give the crew enough time to wait out the storm. While working, she’s accosted by a small, maneuverable pink/purple device, followed by a much larger one. Before she can take a picture as proof, the large craft zooms downward into the trench, leaving her to take fuzzy, smeared pictures of the smaller one following it. She coins the term “non-terrestrial intelligence,” or “NTI.” As the crew struggles against the cold, they find an NTI has formed a living column of water and is exploring the base. Though they treat it with curiosity, Coffey is agitated by it and cuts it in half by closing a pressure bulkhead on it, causing it to retreat. The crew soon realize that Coffey is suffering paranoia from high-pressure nervous syndrome. Spying on him through a remote operated vehicle, they find he and another SEAL are arming the warhead to attack the NTIs, and race to stop him. Bud fights Coffey but Coffey escapes in a mini-sub with the primed warhead, and Bud and Lindsey give chase in the other sub. Coffey is able to launch the warhead into the trench, but his sub is damaged and drifts over the edge of the trough, and he is crushed when the sub implodes from high pressures. The other mini-sub is also damaged and is taking on water; with only one functional diving suit, Lindsey opts to enter deep hypothermia when the ocean’s cold water engulfs her, and Bud swims back with her body to the platform. There, he and the crew administer CPR and revive her. Bud and Lindsey reaffirm their lost love…

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