The synonyms to the word Sanctum (per MS Word) are Study, workplace, office, hut & chamber. Chamber would suit the most in the context of this movie Sanctum. The desire to explore never dies in human race. One of the unexplored places on Planet Earth was South Pacific’s Esa-ala Cave. If Cliffhanger and Vertical Limit were explorer/adventure movies on snow capped mountains, Sanctum is the movie inside a cave.
We get to see the Expert playing God who lives and breathes caves (“Frank” – Richard Roxburgh), the Millionaire funding the project for fame (“Carl”-Ioan Gruffudd), the adventure freak – amateur girlfriend of the millionaire (“Victoria” – Alice Parkinson), rebelling son who initially dislikes his expert father but later on respects his father for his dedication to caves (“Josh” – Rhys Wakefield). The performances by Richard Roxburgh and Ioan Gruffudd and worth applauding.
The movie begins on a very “AVATAR-ish” note with Josh floating in the middle of the sea and suddenly opens his eyes as if resurrection. Then we are taken away to the flash-back which begins with never-seen-before exotic locations of Papua New Guinea. Victoria’s curiosity changes into amazement after seeing a simulation of the cave exploration that Frank is currently heading. Frank – who is an expert in Cave-diving, and his wife Judes together unravel the most unexplored chamber in the cave, thanks to the expert’s instinct. Immediate turn of events make the audiences realize the reality shocks about exploring in a cave. It definitely gives you a high as long as things are going as expected, but otherwise the same cave could turn into a death trap.
The obvious strength of the movie being the cinematography, combined with the 3D view, magnifies the suffocation. Without the “compelling involvement” from the audiences, adventure movies could fail miserably. Sanctum succeeds in this genre, especially when you come out of the theatre feeling the fresh oxygen, and thanking God that you are on land and breathing. It is involving to that extent, trust me !
Sanctum is definitely a good watch, especially since it deals with a fresh genre. A few scenes are deeply moving, like the scene where Frank’s adventure buddy George sacrifices his life since he knows he is not going to make it outside the cave. There are scenes that depict human desperation to survive, respect, dignity, experience nothing matters to such individuals, only surviving does. Carl, at one point of time compares Frank to great explorers like Columbus & Neil Armstrong, but the same Carl ditches the Father and Son duo to save his life.
Watch it for the adventure highs but go with a strong heart too, because as Frank, the cave expert says “In this cave, we are all just like dust”. The mighty Sanctum enacts the role of a Destroyer !