“No Limit” is beautiful under water but shallow above it. The true story could have been a captivating watch, but it only got interesting in the last couple of minutes. The Roxana Aubrey character failed to leave an impact; she has a tragic past, yet we never get to know her in totality. The film is visually stunning, but it does not invoke the multitude of emotions that one can expect to go through while watching what led to the tragic death of freediver, Audrey Mestre.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
As a little girl, Roxana used to go to the beach with her grandfather, who taught her to dive. The peace and tranquility that she experienced underwater were incomparable to worldly pleasures. She studied to be a marine biologist at college. One day, she noticed a poster of the world-famous freediver, Pascal Gautier, who would be giving diving lessons to those interested. Without giving it a second thought, Roxana paid the course fee and reached the location on time. She met Tom there, a diving instructor who worked with Pascal. The two shared unmissable chemistry on the first day of class, but the moment Roxana had set her eyes on Pascal, she knew whom she wanted. Pascal had an incredible pain tolerance capacity, which was why he could endure the pressure and dive deep into the water. His calmness and capability impressed Roxana, and she could not take her eyes off him during the dinner party after the practice session. Pascal was a womanizer. Even with his girlfriend by his side, he continued to flirt with Roxana. They passionately made out in the washroom, and upon returning, his girlfriend broke up with him.
Pascal taught Roxana the techniques to stay under water. Their shared passion for diving brought them closer to each other. Roxana felt at peace in Pascal’s presence, and she would not trade it for the world. She soon joined Pascal’s team in a practice session. On the first day itself, she understood how risky the profession was. While Pascal was aiming to set a world record by diving 172 meters underwater, his team was spread across several levels to monitor him. Even though Pascal managed to complete the dive safely, one of his team members lost his life. Stephane, a team member, blamed Pascal for sending the rookie 40 meters down. The team needed a new member, and Roxana stepped in to fill the position. Stephane was against it, knowing how risky it could be for her, but Pascal trusted Roxana’s capability. He believed she was a natural and could adapt easily. Roxana learned the safety protocol and was prepared to assist Pascal. On the day of the event, Pascal successfully dived 172 m, and the team celebrated the new world record. Roxana was on top of the world. She had never felt so alive. She informed her mother that she would leave her studies to accompany Pascal on his journey. Her mother was not supportive of her decision, but she refused to listen to her advice. A few days after setting a new world record, another freediver managed to go 174m down. Pascal had to compete now, and he was aiming for 176m. But this time, luck was not on his side. He suffered from a blackout, and the doctor advised him to stop diving. Pascal was not ready to give up, and Roxana could not change his mind, knowing how passionate he was about his profession. As he took a break, he introduced Roxana to the world of freediving. She soon set a new record for French women by going 56m deep in the CWF category. She was celebrated by the media for her achievement, and Pascal watched her from a distance. “No Limit” traces the relationship between Pascal and Roxana. A romance that soon turned bitter as a result of envy and distrust.
‘No Limit’ Ending Explained: Who Was Responsible For Roxana’s Death?
Pascal could not accept defeat when a woman created another new world record. He was determined to dive 180m and create a new record, but his team and the organizers knew that he was not fit enough to do so. As Roxana rose to fame, Pascal could feel his importance fading away. Roxana looked up to him; he was her lover and her mentor, but he could not stand the celebration anymore. He was proud of Roxana but disappointed in himself. He went as far as to state that he would be happy to watch her set the new world record rather than allow any other person to do so. It was important for him to be involved either as a participant or as a coach.
Roxana could sense the growing distance between her and Pascal. He would often leave her at night, and she would be left alone. Roxana’s childhood was not easy. Her father committed suicide as a result of depression when she was 12. She always wondered why her father left her, and gradually she became obsessed with the idea of death. She attempted suicide, hoping to join her father, but her grandfather saved her life. We get a sense of how Roxana had been searching for the meaning of her existence, and it was only after meeting Pascal that she realized who she was meant to be. She emphasized how important Pascal was in her life and how the trophies and titles did not hold any value without him in her life. But he did not feel the same way. He was not ready to give up. For him, the competition mattered more than what he shared with Roxana. He decided Roxana would compete in the no-limit category even though his entire team thought it was a bad idea, but Roxana took up the challenge. As she trained to prove Pascal right, he cheated on her. Roxana soon found out about his affair, and she sought comfort in Tom.
The next morning, she decided to leave Pascal, but he was adamant about not letting her go. He smashed the mirror with his fist, and Roxana could not help but sympathize with him. Later, during their training session, Pascal read a text sent by Tom to Roxana and learned about their relationship. At a press conference, Roxana noticed the woman Pascal cheated with in the audience. By looking at him, she knew that he never mended his ways and left the conference abruptly. She kept to herself, and she could feel the loneliness creeping in again.
The next day, Roxana was set to compete in the No Limit category and go 180m deep to create a new world record. Pascal had a word with Tom and informed him that even though they had a few setbacks, he continued to count on him. Pascal went up to Roxana to spend a few minutes with her, but he realized that she no longer cared for him. Tom noticed Pascal checking the air tanks before the dive. A few seconds before Roxana dived in, Pascal planted a kiss on her lips. She dived in at 180m, but as she attempted to open the valve of the air tank to inflate the lift bag, she noticed that it was not working. The cylinder did not have air in it, making it impossible for her to rise rapidly to the surface. Even though Tom tried to fill the tank, it was not sufficient to pull her as rapidly. She was supposed to stay for three minutes under water, but she stayed there for over eight minutes. She realized it was a futile attempt to resurface; her body could not hold on any longer. She heard the whale sing and, in the serene depths, she lost her senses. By the time the security team dived in to save her, it was too late. She was declared dead upon reaching the surface. When the police interrogated the team, no one disclosed any knowledge of what went wrong. Though Tom knew that Pascal had a role to play in Roxana’s death, since he was the one last seen handling the air tank lift bag. As Tom was about to enter the airport, he noticed Pascal staring at him from a distance.
Pascal was involved in Roxana’s death. Perhaps he could not tolerate her indifference and wanted to seek revenge. He knew she could leave him, and he would no longer be responsible for her success. That might also be a reason for him to end her life. “No Limit” is dedicated to Audrey Mestre, who lost her life under similar circumstances.
Is ‘No Limits’ Based On A True Story?
“No Limits” is loosely based on the tragic death of Audrey Mestre, a promising freediver. The film maintains that it is a work of fiction and that not everything shown is based on reality. The death of Audrey Mestre was similar to that of Roxana, as shown in the film. Audrey was a gifted freediver who was trained by her husband, Francisco Ferreras, a popular figure in the diving world. It is said that on the day of Mestre’s final dive, Ferreras was responsible for the air tank lift bag. The dysfunction of it led to a series of controversies blaming Ferreras for her death. The freediving safety standards were not maintained, and the organization responsible for them was underfunded. There were two safety divers and no medical doctor to cater to Mestre when she was brought onshore. She had a pulse and could have been saved had there been a medical team available.
The gross negligence that led to her death resulted in mass outrage, though Mestre’s family chose not to probe into the case. Francisco Ferreras maintained his innocence. We will never get to know what happened on October 12, 2002. It might be a strained relationship coupled with the lack of a safety team that led to the loss of an extraordinary freediver. Audrey was supposedly reclusive before her final dive. The video of Audrey’s final dive that exists on the internet is chilling and heartbreaking. At the age of 28, Mestre was gone too soon.
“No Limit” is a 2022 Drama Thriller directed by David M. Rosenthal.