DIRECTOR Barry Levinson WRITER Michael Wallach; Barry Levinson STARS Will Rogers; Kristen Connolly; Kether Donohue DVD & BLU-RAY 18 March
Piecing together its story in multi-format, The Bay is an interesting spin on found footage. Inspired by and set in the real-life Chesapeake Bay, Barry Levinson — horror a surprising departure for the director — presents what is on the surface an eco-disaster movie, but also a political statement on the futility of independence — the events depicted take on place on 4 July — due to the ultimate irresponsibility of authority.
It’s certainly an intelligent approach, the story told in retrospect using found footage to illustrate a whistle-blowing exercise; not unrealistic in this technological age, so adding a predictive sense to Levinson’s ecological warning. Unfortunately the formatting falls victim to an over-zealous edit that delivers the footage in snippets that, while not exactly rapid-fire, does not allow a momentum to be created. As such, there is no hook, which is certainly unassisted by 20 minutes of build-up that treads water as opposed to progressing the story.
Ultimately, The Bay is a case of style over substance, and a tad self-indulgent for it; a lack of heed to the viewer’s interaction with the story is what lets it down, which is ironic for what could be interpreted as a nod to the advance of transmedia storytelling, and unfortunate for what is clearly a passion project.