Diving into the Unknown
A Documentary Film Review by Luis Diaz
Presented to us through interviews and live footage is the true tale of a group of Deep Sea Cave Divers and the harrowing journey they’ll undertake in the name of their lost friends. ‘Diving into the Unknown’ is their story.
It all begins on February 6, 2014 in Northern Norway’s Plura cave system stretching from the Steinugleflåget dry cave to the Plura Lakeside entrances. A Finnish team of experienced diving friends and acquaintances embark upon a quest to explore this system. It would be comprised of Patrik Grönqvist, Vesa Rantanen, Kai Känkänen, Jari Huotarinen and Jari Uusimäki. They would enter at the Plura entrance with the intent of exiting through the Steinugleflaget cave. Unfortunately both Jari’s will die not too far from one another.
Due to the complications and dangers presented by the risk of hypercapnia and decompression sickness the other divers were limited as to their ability to save their friends much less move their bodies to the surface. Later, British and Norwegian authorities would consider an expedition to recover the bodies as too dangerous. Going forward, the cave system would be deemed off limits to all.
Patrik Grönqvist, around whom the documentary focuses on the most, would spend time contemplating the loss as well as how the two Jari’s were left behind. Seven weeks after the accident the remaining three men, accompanied by Sami Paakkarinen and numerous other men would venture upon a secret mission to recover the bodies. In total, including those just mentioned, they’d be comprised of 17 Finns and 10 Norwegians. They would begin their mission on March 22 and it would end days later. They would be successful in their undertaking.
Altogether I felt this documentary film to be a truly thoughtful presentation of comraderie and honor. It was a heartening experience to witness these men’s longing to recover their friends’ bodies. For them the initial, fateful incident was one without closure; one they needed to see to.
It’s an amazing thing to encounter the sport of deep sea diving in such a way; and the horrible consequences of something going wrong. In the past I’ve witnessed, as I’m sure many of you have as well, numerous nature documentaries detailing the wonders to be seen through such a sport. Yet I can’t recall a single one that’s driven home the related dangers involved the way ‘Diving into Darkness’ has managed to do.
Technically speaking the film was well edited, film-wise and sound-wise, and does a fine job of sharing with us, the audience, these divers’ story. Although, I’d have wished to have learned more about Jari Huotarinen and Jari Uusimäki and their related diving abilities as well as that of all others involved. I feel the documentary might’ve been more well-rounded this way, but that’s my own personal gripe. Regardless, this documentary film, as it stands, is still well done. I’d highly recommend it.
The cave divers who went back for their friends By William Kremer of BBC