- Film And TV
- 26 Sep 23
Unsinkable charts the journey of Alan Corcoran as he swims the lengths and reaches of Ireland’s coastlines.
In 2019, a 25 year-old Waterford man vowed to embark on a 500-km swim, from Antrim to Waterford, armed only with his trusty swimming goggles, wetsuit, and sheer determination…
Why undertake such a Herculean task?
Well you see, it’s all a rather beautiful and heartfelt ode to his late father. Lamenting the loss of his father Milo, a former president of the Football Association of Ireland – who died of cancer in 2016 – Alan decided to set out on the swim of Ireland’s coast, raising funds and awareness in the process.
A fascinating journey of hard-worn endurance, the documentary follows Corcoran as he perseveres with nerves of steel and top-notch swimming skills to boot, through Ireland’s tempestuous and icy seas. Traversing the wild conditions of Ireland’s mesmerizingly scenic, yet harsh and unforgiving coastlines, Corcoran’s remarkable test of endurance is equally a contemplative journey of self; as he navigates the depths of grief. Channelling his unspeakable anguish into a constructive project of ultra-endurance, Corcoran becomes unsinkable.
Will he ride the waves or is he in over his head?
On his frankly mad adventure, Corcoran also managed to raise a whopping €30,000 for cancer and stroke charities in his father’s memory. The documentary feature is similarly an Independently funded venture, created by Emagine and Alan Corcoran following an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
Not only a touching tribute to Corcoran’s father, the film too is a testament to the beauty of Ireland’s natural coasts, shot here with a stunning clarity, as Alan makes his way from the Giant’s Causeway to Tramore in his home county. The sea also proves to provide a powerful cinematic metaphor for Corcoran’s own experiences, the frothy wilds of the waters, like his grief, often seeming insurmountable.
The first person to ever undertake a 500 kilometre length swim of Ireland’s coast, the sheer scale of Corcoran’s journey doesn't quite sink in until the Waterford man takes to the sea – made tiny amongst the enormity of waves crashing down around him.
Corcoran’s efforts also put a strain on his relationship with his wife, Karolina Opavá, an unforeseen repercussion that is deftly explored within the documentary. The taxing logistics of such a strenuous endeavour play out to equally comical and heart-wrenching effect; as Karolina learns that she has earned a first-class degree in neuroscience as she kayaks alongside a swimming Alan.
Frank, blisteringly raw, and uncompromisingly honest, the film – shot predominantly by Corcoran himself – is existentially confrontational, with Alan reading his own mortality through his father’s tragic passing. Tackling jellyfish, turbulent weather and mutinous waves as he takes to the frigid depths of the North Sea, Corcoran’s is a true odyssey for the ages.
With striking poignancy – and at times pitch-black comedics – this intimate portrait of one man’s grief buzzes with life from start to finish, a joyous light amongst the dark.
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