The  Abyss

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Dr. Graham Shimmield

Marine Geochemist; Executive Director, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

The Abyss— Underwater Mysteries

A discussion of underwater mysteries, such as how life exists without sunlight, and the vastness of invisible communities that help keep the planet balanced.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

When the USS Montana, a submarine carrying nuclear warheads, inexplicably collides into a sea wall and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a deep-sea oil operation team is called upon to assist with the search and rescue. Led by Virgil “Bud” Brigman (Ed Harris), the drill team is partnered with a squad of Navy S.E.A.L.S. whose orders may not be as transparent as they seem. Bud’s hard-edged, estranged wife, Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), is also brought on board to lend her expertise as the designer of the massive underwater drilling rig. Upon reaching the Montana, the divers encounter something out of this world, an apparently new species of aquatic life, which they dub “N.T.I’s,” or non-terrestrial intelligence. While the team of civilian divers views these life forms as the discovery of the century, S.E.A.L. team leader Lieutenant Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) sees only a threat that should be eliminated by any means necessary. However, the hurricane gathering strength on the water’s surface may prove to be the greatest adversary of all.

About the Speaker

Dr. Graham Shimmield is executive director of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the only independent research institution in the world that focuses primarily on microbial oceanography. His particular interest is in marine geochemistry, which includes identifying indicators of ocean and climate change, and examining human impacts and contamination in coastal and deep seas. His work has taken him to all oceans of the world, from atolls in the Pacific impacted by El Nino events to the polar regions and the consequences of melting sea ice to studies of offshore oil installations and their decommissioning. He has published over 65 scientific peer-reviewed articles.