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It is a cause worth highlighting and the Omars' tale is enthralling

Every Film Blog

19 Apr 2024

Self-indulgence on a reckless scale or a genuine attempt to draw attention to the plight of the refugees who risk their lives crossing seas to escape persecution?

I was torn after watching Beyond The Raging Sea - the story of extreme athletes Omar Nour and Omar Samra.

Marco Orsini's documentary is about their participation in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge - a 3,000-mile race across the Atlantic in a rowing boat without assistance.

Their training took two years and presumably involved a massive investment in time and money, but their journey was ill-fated.

Their start was slow because of unfavourable winds, sickness and exhaustion but they were minor compared to what was to follow.

The men pick up their story, explaining how, on day nine, they were hit by a gale and a colossal wave flipped their 'unflippable' boat.

They then describe in fascinating detail how they hung on to life for 13 hours with their emergency beacons failing amid eight-metre waves.

There is very little footage of what happened, so the drama has to be played out according to their description.

This is dramatic but doesn't have the visual impact usually associated with a movie.Thus, refugees are introduced to tell their traumatic stories of crossing the sea to escape horrors at home.

These two short stories are compelling, but the link jarred a little because two wealthy men taking on the ocean to compete in a race are different.

I was also left wondering whether they would have done it anyway, regardless of the refugees'


Nevertheless, it is a cause worth highlighting and the Omars' tale is enthralling.

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