Just as most of us are confined to our (local) government-mandated homes, the the global film industry has effectively closed, with the frozen box office since closed cinemas early March. Most of the theatrical releases planned for 2020 have been postponed indefinitely or downgraded to a start on demand Therefore. With a lack of new, splashy titles to explore, old moviegoers are left with nothing but the typically disparaged “January movies” that will be released in digital this spring. Which is bad news for foes who view the winter months as movie wasteland, and good news for people like me who love the underrated titles that appear in the first quarter of each year.
One such winter treasure – which is now ranked as the tenth most profitable film of the year – is the aquatic terrorist train Submarine, with Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr. and the sea monsters. Fortunately for all those who missed it in movie theaters, you can now watch it at home in digital and Blu-ray, with some very special bonus features included. And when I say special, I mean spiritual. I mean emotional. Because the great finish of Submarine has been terrorizing me since I first saw it, and this newly available clip of its alternate ending (see above) may have fixed my broken heart. Attention: Spoilers to come.
Submarine follows a group of people working on an oil platform at the bottom of the ocean – which they are forced to abandon once the structure begins to collapse. After 80 relentless minutes of surviving an impossible deep-water calamity, the characters played by Stewart, Henwick and Gallagher Jr. arrive at a set of underwater evacuation modules – only two of which are operational. Stewart (Norah) sends the injured Gallagher Jr. (Liam) first, then invites Henwick (Emily) in the next, promising that she will follow right behind. Just go. Live. Take care of the man who loves you * (* for whom you are content, because it is not me).
Norah, however, does not follow behind. She looks at the destroyed basket, resigns herself to death and, in a last heroic act, overloads the heart of the drill, which will explode and eliminate the sea creatures that have tormented them all this time (whose master strangely resembles Davy Jones of Pirates of the Caribbean). It is beautifully shot, the visuals slow down as the room explodes around it, making it a properly epic display of altruism. I respect his character’s right to self-determination, to surrender and to ensure the survival of his friends. But here it is: she didn’t have to die!
We learn along the way that Norah lost her fiancé in a diving accident a few years ago and never stopped crying. The end of Submarine is basically his last act of letting go. But no! I do not accept! Someone who has been waiting for an excuse to die does not cross a mile of the seabed, seven miles from the surface, under the threat of monsters, just to give up at the finish line. Someone who is swallowed by a sea monster and proceeds to kill this creature from the inside, to burst out of its corpse, does not only say: We had a good race, when freedom is at hand. And really – honestly – why Norah, the only engineer in the group, not even attempt to hot wire the damaged exhaust capsule? She wouldn’t give up! Not our Norah! Not this heroine of the deep sea!
But luckily, I may now know peace. In the alternative ending, which we will now recognize as canon, Norah chooses life. She validates her tug of war to survive, twisting two wires together after triggering the explosion of the core of the platform, so that she can eliminate the monsters while her pods settle on the surface. And you know what? Because it’s our fic now, let’s say that Norah also finds Emily on the surface, and both of them admit that love has been in front of them all the time. I don’t know everything about you, but I feel much better. The world was in black and white, but returned, as Taylor says, to garish colors. Kristen Stewart survived the end of Submarineand I am grateful to real problems like this are resolved.