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Nyad review – swim biopic lifted by Annette Bening and Jodie Foster

Two stellar performances add weight to Netflix’s uneven retelling of the story of Diana Nyad, who attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64

In the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin came upon a doozy of a character in Alex Honnold, an unhinged, unsupported climber with little regard for his own mortality. It was a perfectly terrifying and fascinating film, the nightmarish sight of Honnold hanging from the edge of a 900-metre rock seared into the brain of anyone who saw it.

The pair were able to film every hair-raising moment of his record-breaking climb, the ethics of which were smartly explored within the movie, and it turned an extreme sports documentary into an immersive, edge-of-seat thriller. But their lack of on-location involvement in their follow-up, the Thai cave doc The Rescue, gave it a drier, less dynamic feel, an anonymous assemblage of clips telling a story we all knew a little too well. Nyad, their narrative debut, finds the pair in uncharted territory, the tale of another daring endeavour but one they can bring to the screen with complete directorial control and without fear of blood on their hands.

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