Noyce’s breakthrough film is a psychological thriller about a grieving couple (Sam Neil, Nicole Kidman) who hope to mend their relationship with a relaxing boat ride and their encounter with a shipwreck survivor (Billy Zane) who isn’t what he claims. The incredibly tense and well-acted film has all of Noyce’s evocative staging and peerless ability to cultivate suspense. The success of “Dead Calm” led to Noyce directing the lurid 1993 potboiler “Silver,” which was a big enough commercial hit for Paramount to allow Noyce to helm “Patriot Games” and the rest was history.
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