Based on a 1963 novel by American crime writer Charles Williams, 1989's "Dead Calm" has a lot in common with Roman Polanski's debut "Knife in the Water." A couple (Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman) out on a boat pick up a stranger in distress (Billy Zane) who turns out to be psychotic. For a thriller, it's not very tense. It's actually pretty silly, especially Zane's over the top performance. He would be in another boat movie called "Titanic." This was one of Nicole Kidman's first films and she's actually using her Aussie accent. Aussie director Phillip Noyce would go on to direct 2 Jack Ryan movies ("Patriot Games," "Clear & Present Danger"), "The Saint," and "The Quiet American."
I think this was Kidman's best performance.
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