Buoyancy: Movie Review by the Moviegoer of the United States of America

Brian Quass
4 min readFeb 17, 2023
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your multi-million-dollar private submarine…

REPORTERS: Mr. Moviegoer! Mr. Moviegoer!

Good afternoon. I’d like to make a few comments and then I’ll take questions.

As you know, I watched the 2020 movie entitled Buoyancy last night, written and directed by Roel Leijten and starring Michael Wagner as a dot-com billionaire, a certain Nicholas Hallberg: a somewhat creepy character, who went off the deep end after selling his business to Apple Computers. He subsequently holes up in a 4-person submarine that he ostensibly built for humanitarian purposes.

What else?

Oh, yeah. I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school when I add that actress Amelia Anderson joins him onboard as a naive graduate student named Rebecca Finch. The seemingly starstruck Rebecca hopes to boost her post-grad employment chances by exposing the tech darling’s true personality in a series of interviews in which Nicholas has agreed to take part while the two of them are submerged in the TOC, the multi-million-dollar brain-child of the middle-aged nerd in question.

I can’t expose the plot, of course: suffice it to say that Rebecca ultimately comes to regret her journalistic foray — in spades.

REPORTER: In spades, sir?

Now then, I’ll open up the floor to termites.

REPORTER: Mr. Moviegoer, Mr. Moviegoer!

Yes, you, sir, in the back.

REPORTER: Isn’t it true that the millionaire sold his company only after experiencing some sort of personal trauma?

REPORTER 2: Yes, in which his five-year-old child was killed?

I’d give that a qualified yes.

REPORTER 3: Why qualified? Nicholas Hallberg says as much in the film.

Yes, but part of the appeal of the film is that the viewer does not know Nicholas’ true motives during much of the action, nor whether he is lying or telling the truth.

REPORTER 4: Word. The film is really a psychological thriller, after all.

Too true. And the pot boils all the more energetically due to the claustrophobic setting.

REPORTER 5: Claustrophobic? How so?

Well, this submarine is not exactly the Queen Mary, is it? It’s not even the HMS Das Boot. It’s just a couple of windowless metallic rooms, each the size of a U-Haul trailer.

REPORTER 6: And then there’s the hallucinations.

Okay, now you’re getting me nervous, because I don’t want to expose too many details. But yes, fair enough: the thriller feeling is amplified by the fact that hallucinations are induced at some points, causing the viewer to nurse even more misgivings about the true state of affairs — to the point where you’re wondering sometimes if the naive Rebecca herself isn’t muddying the waters with abject lies, albeit unintentionally, of course.

REPORTER 7: And what about Claire Tyche?

Do what?

REPORTER 7: You know, Claire Tyche: the school advisor who never wanted Rebecca to do the interviews in the first place and who later contacted the sub-bound college student online to give her dire warnings, the precise nature of which remained unclear, however, due to the piss-poor Internet connection onboard?

Oh, yes, of course. Claire Tyche, played by the delightful Portia Booroff! Speaking of which, that kind of puzzled me. Here is a so-called “smart” submarine built by a dot-com billionaire (complete with a lifeless robotic female voice somewhat superfluously announcing the closing and opening of every single door onboard: “Door open,” “Door closed”) and yet the sub has a piss-poor Internet connection. I know the submarine is underwater, but that’s no excuse for a supposed technological genius to have a workspace that is almost completely off-line! I’m no tech genius myself, but even I know you could place a satellite antenna on a raft and have it float on the surface above you.

REPORTER 8: Do you know, you’re right, Mr. Moviegoer?

I mean, that should have been a red flag to Rebecca from the start. Er, not that Nicholas Hallberg is necessarily the bad guy in the film, of course. See? I’m already giving too much away. This press conference is over!

REPORTER 9: I don’t get it, Mr. Moviegoer.

You don’t get what?

REPORTER 9: How does a 14-year-old slave laborer named Chakra fit into this plot?


REPORTER 9: And I thought the submarine was actually a Thai fishing vessel.

Oh, I see. No, you’re thinking of the 2019 movie called Buoyancy written and directed by Rodd Rathjen.

OTHER REPORTERS! Ooh! Embaaaarrassed!

By the power vested in me as Moviegoer of the United States of America, I hereby condemn you to three fulsome slaps with the wettest of all possible noodles. (Guards? Guards?)

14-year-old slave laborer, indeed!

Remember, folks, it’s Buoyancy 2020! Ask for it by name… and by date!

REPORTER 10: You mean you recommend it?

Do chickens have lips?

I did however, have one initial regret. You see, I’ve always felt that there should be personal submarines in the world in the same way that there are personal motorboats, such that we seasiders can putter about both above water and below during our weekend downtime. I’ve always wanted my own personal submarine. So I was delighted to see a movie that centered around a personal submarine… but then, of course, I was subsequently devastated when I saw that the tub in question had no windows and was poorly furnished and dimly lit with what looked very much like old-school fluorescent bulbs — which made no sense in an age when LED lights could cheaply and efficiently turn any room into the Las Vegas Strip!

I mean, it’s bad enough that Mark’s sub has crappy Wi-Fi. Maybe he had a thing for solitude, but did he have to model the walls of his living quarters on the inside of a sardine can?

REPORTERS: Mr. Moviegoer! Mr. Moviegoer!

No, sorry, no more questions! No more questions!!!



Brian Quass

Founder of AbolishTheDEA.com, whose life purpose is to expose the philosophical absurdity of America's unprecedented war on substances