SAME BOAT **** USA 2019 Dir: Chris Roberti. 83 mins
James and Mot are time traveling assassins whose latest assignment takes place on a cruise ship. James is a seasoned pro who has learned to emotionally distance himself from his work, telling himself that humanity is better off as the result of his kills. Mot is still in training and finds herself violently seasick, incapacitating her ability to earn her stripes on this mission. So, James decides to complete the task himself. However, he finds himself distracted by the myriad of activities onboard. His biggest distraction is a woman named Lilly who, incidentally, happens to be his latest target.
Same Boat is a fun character study with a loose sci-fi premise set in an interesting location and featuring strong performances by its cast. We learn very little about the technicalities of time travel and those in power who decide who from the past must die in order to build a better future. And we don’t need to. Instead, the film is focused on the present along with the tension that builds as James wrestles with his professional obligations as he quickly falls for Lilly.
Every character is likeable and serves the story well. Chris Roberti’s James carries the movie effortlessly with help from his supporting cast. The chemistry between Roberti and Tonya Glanz’s Lilly feels natural and capable of shaking up James’ entire mindset.
The ending is a bittersweet, unexpected, but satisfying conclusion. This story is a lesson in the power of observation, selflessness, and compassion. And the fact that it was secretly filmed on an actual cruise ship makes it all the more impressive.
Review by Laura Smith