It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Her husband disappears and her mind refuses to process that fact. She dozed on the beach, she awoke, and he was gone. Did he drown? Was it an accident, or suicide? Or did he simply decide to disappear? Her friends ask these questions, but Marie simply behaves as if he is still there.
She is not delusional. In some sense, in some part of her mind, she knows she will never see him alive again, and perhaps she even agrees with the police that he must have drowned. But that part of her mind is partitioned. Even when she dates other men, even when she sleeps with one, in a real sense her husband is still there, still with her. When she is in bed with another man, he looks on from the doorway, and they exchange a look, and they seem to be agreeing, silently, well, life goes on.
The thing is--it doesn't go on without him. It goes on with him, and she sees him, and talks to him. This is not so strange. I know many people who talk about the departed in the present tense. I like it when they do that. When somebody dies, I cannot bring myself to take their telephone number out of my address book, because . . . you never know. Many people believe that their loved ones are with them in spirit. It is only when Marie refers to her husband Jean as if he is actually still present as a force in her life that her friends exchange glances.
"Under the Sand" is a movie of introspection and defiance. It stars Charlotte Rampling, the British actress, as the wife of a Frenchman (Bruno Cremer). We get some ideas about their marriage. Perhaps a reason that some men might commit suicide (a subtle hint about health), but not this man, we think. We do not learn everything there is to know about the marriage, but it could not have been very unhappy if Marie's mind refuses to allow it to end.