Blood and water

Blood And Water is a short film by writer/director Brian Blum, about how an Olympic diver’s relationship with his mother deteriorates as he fails to bounce back from a horrific training accident. It doesn’t innovate much on a somehow common sport comeback story, but by combining familiar narrative threads with a highly specific portrayal of a cinematically unique sport (Olympic platform diving), the result is undeniably entertaining. Blood and Water works because it feels surprisingly authentic, especially for a student short. Starring 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Steele Johnson, it’s a film that that never seems like it’s pretending. Its portrayal of both the sport and the emotions behind it feel real, the details are precise. Even the accident that sets the film into motion is shown in clear and unsettlingly specific detail. It’s a bold choice for Blum to not cut away from inevitable collision, and the result is visceral and effective. Moreover, having a “real” diver like Johnson as the lead provides another layer of verisimilitude. He’s actually doing the diving, so we avoid all the cinematic fakery (cutaway close-ups, a body double) that could potentially take you out of the experience. Steele may not be the most accomplished actor, but he has a capable screen presence. Blum’s simple, yet sharp script manages to tow the line of melodrama without ever becoming too on-the-nose or cliché.

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