Movie: The Last Breath

Apollo 11 is an interesting way to relive the first moon landing through documentary footage (restored and organized into a 1.5-hour experience).

The Last Breath (streaming on Netflix) is the flip side of Apollo 11. The mission is equally dangerous, but the direction is down into the sea rather than up into space. Instead of certain fame and possible fortune that astronauts enjoyed, the aquanauts of The Last Breath will receive a modest paycheck at best.

The movie involves a group of people who choose to live on a small ship being tossed around in the North Sea. (No gender IDs are provided explicitly, but male pronouns are used for everyone in the film who goes onto or under the water. This page shows that 0% of people certified to do the kind of diving shown in the movie identify as “women.” Therefore I will use male pronouns in this post.)

Being part of the crew is horrible, battered regularly by 45-knot winds and 20-foot waves. But the divers must live at 100 meters of pressure (10 atm) for 28 days straight, the monotony of living in a small pressure chamber broken up only by visits to the ocean floor. For 28 days they will breathe a mixture of helium and oxygen and depend on technologies such as diving bells, diving suits, and umbilical cords.

Typical of the Scottish understatement that permeates the film… Regarding the Donald Duck voice from breathing helium: “The first thirty seconds is always quite humorous. After that, the novelty wears off.”

I don’t want to ruin the suspense by saying more, but I recommend the film and would be interested to see comments from readers who have seen it. (Folks who don’t want any spoilers can refrain from clicking on the comments.)

Readers: Obviously the pay is going to be better than what one could receive working in a supermarket, but what else motivates men to take these kinds of jobs?

4 thoughts on “Movie: The Last Breath

  1. Not sure what comments you want but it’s a good film, scary as… certainly not an ad for the industry in which you don’t need this film to question why anyone would willingly do the job.

  2. Some people want adventure. Every job has its suck parts, do you want to spend your whole life sitting at a desk, doing the same thing over and over on an assembly line, or do you want to be on a storm-tossed ship, waiting to descend to the bottom of the sea? A man who does that for a living doesn’t spend much time wondering what he’s made of.

  3. I watched this last night and I thought it was great! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  4. A guy in my church did this work after retiring from the. Seal teams. He also did some experimental work with off-scale protocols which left him quite impaired. It pays about the same as airline pilot but the risk is prohibitive.

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