In a ship on the Greenland Sea, a young biomathematician (Alicia Vikander) prepares for a risky mission in which she and other researchers will descend to the ocean’s floor in a submersible vessel; meanwhile her Scottish lover (James McAvoy)—unbeknownst to her, a British intelligence agent—is being held hostage by jihadists in Somalia. These scenarios may seem like exotic action fare, but the film, adapted from a novel by J.M. Ledgard and gracefully directed by Wim Wenders, tends toward romance and philosophy: both characters descend into darkness and isolation, and each of them, in search of solace or wisdom, flashes back to the idyllic Christmas week they shared at a hotel along the French coast. As the woman remarks, darkness challenges people’s sense of self, and in the romantic tradition, they seek themselves in each other.