Spoiler alert: don't read the title.
The life of scuba divers in search of depth seems more like a death wish. So why the hell tempt fate for what appears to be very little reward? That question is never really answered, yet we are introduced to several characters who unflinchingly espouse their devotion and unwavering dedication to the activity.
Boesmansgat is a deepwater submerged fresh water cave that punctures the South African Kalahari Desert. It is the monster's mouth that invites intrepid divers to test their mettle. It is where records are set. It is where people die. In 1994 twenty year old Deon Dryer perished there. A decade later Dave Shaw discovered the body at 270m. Shortly after, he enlisted friend and fellow diver Don Shirley for a recovery mission. This is the story of Deon, Dave and Don. You can't write this stuff.
As documentaries go, revealing a large part of the mystery from the get go is unusual practice, but here it works. Splicing original footage of the recovery dive, with re-enactments, director John Malak avoids the creepy sensationalism television favours, unfolding the story in a tense, beautiful and technical manner befitting the subject matter. The intricate preparation, endless logistical details and a spider web of planning is extraordinary, but when things go wrong, it is the in situ reaction of the team that ramps up the drama.
Diving down is easy, coming back up is not. Same with this movie.