You might not think that a movie like Sea Fever would be a good fit for the current entertainment needs of the world. A sci-fi thriller where a fishing boat has to contend with a parasitic presence trying to infect its crew certainly doesn’t sound like a distraction from current events. However, according to Connie Nielsen, one of the film’s stars, it’s a perfect movie to watch in this age of isolation.
During my recent phone interview with Connie Nielsen in honor of Sea Fever’s VOD release next week, I asked how she felt about the eerily opportune times the film was debuting under. With movie theaters on hiatus, this almost felt like a movie a studio would delay releasing in the hopes that it could get some play in a less conflicted moment.
But as Connie Nielsen sees it, Sea Fever benefits from its timeliness, as she explains below:
I think it’s a really good time to watch this. I mean, we’re dealing with the same things, right?
In times such as these, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to films that deal with a real crisis through fictitious narrative. It’s the reason why we’ve seen films like Outbreak and Contagion becoming popular, be it through Netflix streams and online rentals. And with the more severe, science fiction-friendly exaggeration of a threatening biological vector in Sea Fever, the fictitious nature of the beast is somewhat similar to the very real threat the world is facing today.
Playing the character of Freya, half of the married couple that runs the vessel at the heart of Sea Fever, Connie Nielsen’s character is a stoic figure of authority during a crisis that sees a marine biologist (played by Hermione Corfield) trying to determine just what sort of threat this unknown organism poses to the ship and all aboard.
That very creature could be seen as an analog for many various historical times of hardship, but it just so happens to be an eerily fitting metaphor for our current times. And in her own insightful viewpoint, Connie Nielsen drew some interesting parallels between the monster in the film and the metaphorical beast that the world is facing today, and what we’re doing to stop it.
Specifically, the similarities between Sea Fever’s antagonistic creature and today’s worldwide health crisis boil down to the following aspects:
Something we don’t know, something we’re trying to figure out. What it’s weak spots are, and how it affects us.
With Will Smith recently saying that his experience preparing for I Am Legend helped him deal with current events even more effectively, I asked Connie Nielsen if she felt that her time as Sea Fever’s Freya helped her prepare any better in her own way. Her answer was an emphatic negative, though only because the things that happen in the film are pretty in line the common sense approach to this sort of dilemma:
No, I think that the movie is explaining or showing what the human response is, and also should be, to any of these kinds of emergency situations. I feel like the way we behave in the film is exactly what we should be doing. Social distancing from each other, and disinfection, and kindness, taking care of each other.
As Hermione Corfield’s marine biology student, Siobhan, acts as Sea Fever’s voice of reason, the anxious crew wants to act as quickly as they can to get home, rather than follow Siobhan’s advisory to keep themselves out at sea as long as they can. This puts her at loggerheads with Connie Nielsen’s Freya, who is looking to get herself, her crew and their catch home as soon as possible.
In its own way, Sea Fever is a modern riff on the themes of two classic paranoid thrillers centered around closed quarters. With the captain and crew looking to get home with their catch, despite quarantine protocols dictating a more reserved path back, shades of the Alien franchise are invoked throughout writer/director Neasa Hardiman’s film.
Crossbreeding that sort of terror with the personal politics of mistrust that are reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing, Sea Fever unintentionally became a movie of our moment, with Connie Nielsen’s character acting as somewhat of a surrogate for any current leader who has to walk the line between what’s good for the people in their care, but what’s also good for the institution that they serve.
With unusual circumstances ruling the day, and everyone looking for something to keep themselves entertained with, Sea Fever could be seen as apropos for the world we currently live in. Showcasing the same sort of discussions that are currently being had, you can see how Connie Nielsen believes that now, more than ever, is a good time to watch a monster movie with such unintended, but fitting parallels. If we can beat it in fiction, there’s a good chance it’ll inspire those who are trying to get a handle on the world outside to solve our very real crisis.
You can see Connie Nielsen in the indie sci-fi thriller Sea Fever, which is available on VOD April 10, and will have a livestreamed premiere on Thursday, April 9, with Nielsen in attendance for a Q&A following the film.